At the beginning of last season, I told myself and a bunch of people that no matter what, I would drive down the road to Miller Park to see Orlando Arcia’s home debut. It was a Brewers vs Padres game and Arcia ended up going 0-4 with a strikeout. I wasn’t expecting fireworks from the kid. He profiles more as an elite defensive asset than an offensive middle infielder. He did not find too much success for the remaining of 2016 and got off to a cold start in 2017. Fast forward to today and Arcia is currently hitting .279/.323/.420 and that is with his first 131 plate appearances resulting in .215/.269/.364 with only 1 stolen base. He was striking out nearly 20% of the time. Since then, Arcia is hitting .310/.349/.447 with a 102 wRC+. His .310 average rankes 7th in in all of baseball during that span. There are some unique changes in his swing over the course of time that is interesting to see.
Do you see it? From his rookie season last year to just last week, he went from a straight on stance to a very wide open stance. He started opening his stance beginning in May already coincidentally around the time his numbers started getting better. Since opening his stance just a touch started providing him more success, he has since went to an even more open stance and has now become even better. In addition, he has went from using more of a toe tap to now having more of an elongated leg kick. In a previous article I talked about Justin Smoak finding success from a change in leg kick. This is a similar case.
Defense is where Arcia is supposed to make his mark. This year he is definitely in contention for the Gold Glove Award. Earlier in the year he made this play http://thecomeback.com/mlb/brewers-ss-orlando-arcia-makes-absolutely-ridiculous-play-secure-one-run-victory.html that is in contention for play of the year. In addition he has thrown out a couple runners at home with strong throws from shallow right field. Overall Arcia has been surprisingly average throughout the year. In Fangraphs defense rating he ranks 15th. His range rating is elite where he ranks 4th.
When it comes Arcia as a whole, he has a 50% chance to be about a .255 hitter with 15 home runs a year per Baseball Prospectus. For the rest of the season he will likely hit less home runs and hit about .260 per Baseball Prospectus. He has an index score of 91 with Ketel Marte which means he compares best with Ketel Marte’s 2016 season. He also is similar to Jean Segura’s 2012 season.
This season is encouraging for Arcia and the Brewers. He may never be a Carlos Correa or Cory Seager, but he is an above average player. His defense will ultimately define him, but it is nice to see him develop some power at the plate. So lets not put Arcia on a pedestal and expect big things from him. This success he is having will help the Brewers if they continue to fight for a playoff spot.