Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Right Field Competition

The Twins have all but handed the right field job to Chris Parmelee, largely because they think he is ready to hit in the big leagues, needs to get regular at bats and they have a guy named Morneau at first base. So the title of this post is a bit misleading. There may not be any real competition for the right field spot, unless Oswaldo Arcia forces the issue.

Arcia had a great season last year. He hit well in A ball at Fort Myers and did even better at AA New Britain. He is also reputed to have had a very good winter season. He is only 21 and has a bunch of people who follow the Twins minor leagues excited. But his chances of taking the job from Parmelee see pretty remote when you look at some numbers. Here are their slash lines (AVG/OBP/SLG) in the minor leagues last year:

Parmelee 2012 24 AAA .338 .457 .645
Arcia 2012 21 AA-A+ .320 .388 .539

Parmelee was a better hitter across the board. In addition, both hit 17 home runs, Parmelee did it in 282 plate appearances at AAA, while Arcia did it in 534 plate appearances split between A and AA.

Of course Arcia was younger and therefore has more room for improvement. But its unlikely he will have improved enough at the start of the season to surpass Parmelee and take the right field job. Arcia's one advantage is that he is likely a better fielder. Right field is Parmelee's job to lose and he probably can't do that without failing convincingly this year at the big league level.  Of course, Morneau's contract expires at the end of the season. So it may be the Twins will have an opening at first base and Parmelee is probably better suited to first base defensively than he is to right field. At that point, Arcia may be ready to step in.

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