Oswaldo Arcia Just Keeps Winning Games for the Minnesota Twins
Good things happen when you give a young player with stupid pop opportunities to shine.
It just took the Minnesota Twins a while to realize it.
Let that gorgeous, strangely-cut hair fly, young man.
Oswaldo Arcia launched a walk-off home run Monday night to defeat the Cleveland Indians, 4-3, giving the Twins their sixth win of the season. Half of those wins have come in part thanks to late-inning heroics by that same bad man.
You heard the Twins' play-by-play broadcaster, Dick Bremer, mention that it was Arcia's second walk-off of the season. His first came just eight days before that on a single into the left-field corner to defeat the Los Angeles Angels and complete a three-game sweep at Target Field.
That sweep may have never happened, though, were it not for what Arcia did the day before. With the game tied at four in the eighth inning, Arcia golfed one that made it all the way to the bullpens in left-center field.
— Fernando Martinez (@fernandodeporte) April 17, 2016
And all of this is from a guy who only made one start in the team's first nine games.
Arcia started the year riding the bench behind the Twins' outfield of Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, and Eddie Rosario, but all three of those players struggled to make anything happen early on. Arcia got a start on April 9th -- he went 0-for-4 with a strikeout -- and then went back to the bench for about another week. With the Twins sitting at 0-9, though, it was time for a change, and that meant sticking Arcia in the starting lineup for the beginning of the Angels' series. He hasn't looked back since.
Arcia's knack for these big-time hits when his team has needed them most has allowed him to post some silly win-probability added numbers on FanGraphs. Check out the table below, which shows how the team's win probability has shifted, according to FanGraphs, before and after the three monster hits he has had this season.
|Event||Win Probability Before||Win Probability After||Net Win Probability|
|Walk-Off Home Run||63.5%||100.0%||+36.5%|
Each time, the Twins' win probability sat below 65.0%, but Arcia was able to notch it up around 30 percentage points. That's naturally going to happen when you're put in high-leverage spots, but coming through in the way Arcia has so far has to turn some heads.
Thankfully for Arcia, it's not just these clutch situations where he's coming through. He has already surpassed last year's home run total, when he was held to only two before suffering an injury, never to be recalled from Triple-A after his rehab stint was up. It seems safe to say that, this time, he's in the big leagues to stay.
His .257/.333/.514 slash through 39 plate appearances won't tell you much, but his 40.0% hard-hit rate might. When he hit 20 home runs back in 2014 -- his age-23 season -- Arcia's hard-hit rate was 32.1%, which is still above average, but it's short of where he's at so far this year. When we're dealing with such small sample sizes, it's hard to tell whether or not fluctuations like this are sustainable, but he's at least headed on the right path.
With a guy like Arcia, the Twins are going to have to deal with the headaches associated with his monster strikeout rate and highly questionable defense. But you're also going to get the highs of big-time hitting against righties and long dongs. If he can keep coming through like he has so far this season, I think that's a tradeoff the Twins will be willing to make.