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Updated: April 14th, 2013 6:30pm
Warne: Temper expectations for Oswaldo Arcia now, but future is bright

Warne: Temper expectations for Oswaldo Arcia now, but future is bright

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by Brandon Warne
1500ESPN.com

Part of the fallout from the Minnesota Twins placing outfielder Wilkin Ramirez on the paternity list was deciding whom to call up in his stead.

According to multiple reports, phenom prospect Oswaldo Arcia will be the benefactor, with a promotion from Rochester to be announced on Monday.

General manager Terry Ryan largely downplayed Arcia's potential to take the final leap to the major leagues late last week, suggesting the 21-year-old had only been a designated hitter lately because of a shoulder injury and the hope was he'd resume outfield play soon.

Ryan also noted Arcia hadn't played a ton at Double-A -- 69 games in 2012 -- in addition to being a Triple-A veteran of fewer than 10 games. So, perhaps expectations should be tempered.

Arcia surely has some steam in the prospect world. And for good reason, as Arcia has raked at every level he's been placed, to a minor league line of .316/.374/.540.

On MLB.com's pre-2013 list, Arcia ranked 93rd. With Baseball America, 41st. The two big players in the advanced statistical game, Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs, had Arcia 60th (16th among outfielders) and 66th respectively.

And while some can dream of a top prospect having the out-of-the-box impact of a Bryce Harper or Mike Trout or even a rookie year Joe Mauer, the harsh realization is those are the exceptions rather than the rules. Look no further than Aaron Hicks to see a bright future but some present struggles.

Three projections systems from Fangraphs (Steamer, Oliver and ZiPS) each paint a relatively similar picture of the left-handed hitter. An average of the three would give Arcia something like a triple-slash of .257/.310/.433 -- virtually identical to what Hunter Pence did last season -- with a wOBA (weighted on-base average, scaled to OBP) of around .320.

The major league aggregate wOBA last year was .315. So, in essence, the belief is Arcia could be a slightly above-average hitter right now.

One problem is that every position Arcia could take right now and possibly run with is filled with a hitter who will do that and more, depending on one's take on Chris Parmelee.

The biggest benefit to promoting Arcia rather than Clete Thomas or Brandon Boggs is there's no need to clear space on the 40-man roster. Arcia's already on it.

However, it would probably stand to reason the Twins wouldn't promote one of their top hitting prospects if there wasn't some intent to take a gander at the product, right?

It wouldn't be entirely too surprising to see Arcia see some time at DH. Ryan Doumit has filled that role for eight of the Twins first 11 games, but he's off to a slow start at .171/.261/.244.

Also, with the Twins drawing lefty Jason Vargas in the middle game of their upcoming series against the Los Angeles Angels, it wouldn't be stunning to see Parmelee get a day off, with either Darin Mastroianni or maybe even Doumit getting some time in right. (Doumit started six games in right in 2012.)

It's still unclear how long Arcia will be with the team. Paternity list rules state the player must miss the first game immediately after being placed on the list and is allowed to miss up to three games before he must be reinstated onto the roster.

And while Aaron Hicks is struggling, it doesn't make a ton of sense to send him down to keep Arcia when Ramirez returns from New York. That would leave the team with just one true centerfielder in Mastroianni -- and no other player who wouldn't be considered an emergency option.

That's not an ideal situation, especially considering it's no guarantee Mastroianni is 100% yet.

So, maybe this is just the Twins version of a live look-in. Get a good look at Arcia for a few games, because even if he's not the immediate future, it's pretty clear the decision-makers at 1 Twins Way believe he's a huge part of the big picture.

Brandon Warne covers the Minnesota Twins for 1500ESPN.com. He has also contributed as a baseball analyst for Fangraphs.com and BaseballProspectus.com
Email Brandon | @Brandon_Warne
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