Healthy Again, Oswaldo Arcia Shows What He Can Do

BEST PLAYER: Oswaldo Arcia says rehabbing his right elbow following surgery last summer was the most difficult thing he's done as a baseball player. But here's something even harder: trying to get him out.

With the nagging pain in his elbow gone, the 21-year-old Arcia inflicted plenty of pain on pitchers at two levels in 2012, first bashing his way out of high Class A Fort Myers with a .309/.376/.517 line over two months, then growing even more dangerous (.328/.398/.557) at Double-A New Britain.

"He's one of those rare kids whose bat sounds different when he makes good contact," New Britain manager Jeff Smith said of the Venezuelan outfielder, who collected 67 RBIs in 69 games with the Rock Cats. "And I never saw him give away an at-bat. He can hit anywhere."

Michael Tonkin tries to adhere to the Twins' pitch-to-contact policy of throwing strikes. It's not his fault that hitters can't make contact with his 95 mph sinking fastball.

In an organization with few healthy starting prospects, Tonkin stood out from the bullpen in 2012, striking out 97 batters in just 69 innings. The 22-year-old Californian, a 30th-round pick in 2008, also posted a 2.08 ERA at low Class A Beloit and Fort Myers, and collected six saves at each level, putting himself in the Twins' longterm bullpen plans.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Max Kepler has mastered the language, the culture and now the hitting stroke of his adopted home.

The 19-year-old German, who signed out of Berlin and came to the United States when he was 16, displayed more maturity—and a lot more power—at Rookie-level Elizabethton this season, where his .539 slugging percentage led all Appalachian League hitters with more than 200 plate appearances.

Kepler finally grew some muscle on his lean 6-foot-4 frame and bashed 10 home runs, after having only one in his two previous seasons. He also displayed good plate discipline, with 27 walks in 59 games, and a growing comfort level patrolling center field.


• Chih-Wei Hu, an 18-year-old righthander from Taiwan, signed a contract worth $200,000 with the Twins.

• Kyle Gibson, a first-round pick in 2009 and former top prospect, will continue his comeback from Tommy John surgery in the Arizona Fall League.