Mackey: The most common comp for Oswaldo Arcia is Bobby Abreu
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With all the hoopla surrounding Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano - both universally regarded as two of the top five or 10 prospects in all of baseball - Oswaldo Arcia has been able to fly mostly under the radar.
But as of Sunday, Arcia's six home runs and 21 RBIs put him at the top of each category among American League rookies. Now that Arcia is in the lineup seemingly every day it's probably time to pay close attention to Rookie of the Year standings.
Arcia arrived earlier than expected. At this time last year he was still in the process of graduating from High-A Fort Myers, and an oblique strain kept him sidelined throughout most of spring training. But at this point, he can probably let that Rochester apartment lease fade away.
"His natural abilities are starting to show," said Twins Vice President of Player Personnel Mike Radcliff on Saturday in an interview with 1500 ESPN. "He's got great strength, great bat speed, he's very aggressive, he's got all the things that are going to allow him to be not just a power guy - I think a lot of people have him pegged as a power hitter - but we think he's going to be a dangerous hitter, period. A chance to be an RBI threat and a guy that will hit in the middle of the order as he gets older and more mature and more experienced."
Baseball scouts love making "comps" - comparisons to other players, past and present.
"Those things can get a little tricky," Radcliff said. "We do that... That's what we do as scouts, right away, when we see them as young guys, you try to make a comp."
Comps are made in two different ways. "Number one, a physical comp," Radcliff said. "Who does he look like? That's different than maybe after you've explained and outlined all the tools on your report, now maybe you make a comp as who he might be - who he might be in the lineup."
Arcia's comp is an interesting one.
"The one we always use, just because he looks like him so much, is Bobby Abreu," Radcliff said. "They have the same frame, the same thick trunk, and Oswaldo has the same kind of power that Abreu had when he was a young player."
Abreu is no slouch. He finished his career with a .292/.396/.477 batting line and 287 home runs.
Physically, Abreu and Arcia are listed as having the exact same measurements - 6-0, 220 pounds. Both are from Venezuela. Both began playing professionally at age 17. Both bat left-handed and throw right-handed. Arcia made his MLB debut at age 21, and Abreu at age 22. Both had a .372 on-base percentage in the minor leagues.
The biggest difference is speed. Abreu stole 399 bases during his 17-year career, including two 30-30 seasons. Arcia has never stolen more than eight bases in a season at any level.
Also, Abreu drew a ton of walks during his career. Among 758 qualified hitters between 1998 and 2012, Abreu owned the 17th highest walk percentage (15% of plate appearances resulted in a walk). Arcia's rate is 7.4% this year, which could obviously improve with experience.
"If (Arcia) develops into that kind of a player I think we'll all be happy," Radcliff said. "Including Oswaldo."
That's probably accurate.