Deep Pickups: Hitters

Nick Nelson
Nick Nelson highlights a pair of outfielders with an opportunity to get comfortable in the latest edition of Deep Pickups

Oswaldo Arcia – OF, MIN

The Twins have made no secret of the fact that they’re very high on Arcia as a prospect. Despite the fact that he arrived at spring training this year with only 69 games of experience above Single-A, having been promoted to Class-AA New Britain midway through 2012, he got the opportunity to start in a couple big-league exhibition games and was sent straight to Triple-A to open his season.

Now a red-hot start in Rochester and circumstances affecting the big-league club have opened the door for the 21-year-old to make an impact in the majors. Arcia was called up for a one-game stint earlier this week to fill in for Wilkin Ramirez, who left the team briefly for the birth of his son, and went 1-for-3 but drove three balls to the outfield. Now, with Darin Mastroianni landing on the disabled list, Arcia has quickly been recalled for a lengthier audition.

The Twins will have to juggle their lineup a bit to find regular room for the corner outfielder, as they’re already well stocked at the positions he plays (LF/RF/DH), but they’re certainly not calling him up to sit on the bench. He’ll likely find his way into lineup at all three of those spots, and he may occasionally spell struggling Aaron Hicks in center although by no means is that Arcia’s natural position.

When he’s in the lineup, Arcia will be one to watch. His rise through the minors has been meteoric, particularly in a Twins organization with an historical tendency to take it slow with prospects. Signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela, the sweet-swinging lefty really broke onto the prospect scene last year, hitting .320/.388/.539 with 17 homers and 98 RBI in 124 games between Single-A and Double-A. He has hit at every level, including Triple-A where he’d registered a ridiculous .394/.474/.727 line with three homers in 10 games this year before the call-up.

Arcia is still young and has been somewhat susceptible to left-handed pitchers at times, but his bat is one of the most promising in all of the minor leagues, so it will be exciting to see what he can do in the coming weeks. Mastroianni is likely to be on the shelf for a while, so Arcia should have some time to show what he can do, and if he lives up to his offensive potential the Twins will have an awfully tough time sending him back down.

Collin Cowgill - OF, NYM

After winning a job as the Mets' everyday center fielder by posting a 969 OPS with five homers in spring training, Cowgill wasted no time making the New York brain trust look smart with a huge Opening Day performance that included a grand slam and a double.

That explosion and the spring numbers overstated Cowgill's ability, and -- sure enough -- he's cooled off considerably since. But he is an interesting player with a fantasy-friendly skill set, and now that he's got a gig that assures him regular playing time (at least for the time being) he's absolutely worth a look in deeper leagues.

A former fifth-round draft pick by the Diamondbacks, Cowgill spent time in the Arizona and Oakland systems before latching on with the Mets in an offseason trade. While in the minors, he's hit .291/.371/.470 with 51 homers and 80 steals in 423 career games. The power and speed haven't really manifested in his short major-league stints up to this point, but we'll see what he can do with an opportunity to get comfortable in Queens.

The big key for the righty-swinging Cowgill will be showing effectiveness against right-handed pitching, which has been a significant hurdle thus far in his short big-league career. The 27-year-old owns a .217/.261/.287 career line against same-sided hurlers, and that's simply not going to cut it if he wants to forge a career as a starter. So far this year he's hitting .176 with five strikeouts and no walks in 17 plate appearances against righties, but both of his home runs have come against them, so there's that.

It will be interesting to see how much Terry Collins lets the swift center fielder run on the basepaths. Cowgill was a very efficient stealer in the minors, with an 82 percent success rate on 98 career attempts, and in 2011 he swiped 30 bags in Triple-A.

If he can find that aspect of his game while sharpening up against right-handed pitchers, Cowgill presents a nice power/speed combo that you won't be able to find in many other players so widely available in deep leagues.