It has generally been a year to forget at the big league level for the Milwaukee Brewers, who sit at 27-46 and are the second worst team in the National League. The Brewers have gotten some solid contributions from young players at the big league level this season, however, and several of their prospects are having strong seasons down on the farm. Prior to the season, the Brewers had only one prospect ranked among the top 100 in baseball: shortstop Orlando Arcia. The 20 year old Venezuelan shortstop has done nothing but improve his stock this season for the AA Biloxi Shuckers, and has officially been chosen to represent the Brewers’ in the 2015 All-Star Futures game held on All-Star weekend in Cincinnati.
In 65 games for Biloxi this season, Arcia has slashed .307/.354/.436 with four home runs in 282 plate appearances while playing stellar defense at short. He hasn’t walked much (and never really has), in just 6.0% of his plate appearances, but has excelled at putting the ball in play with just a 10.3% K rate, the third lowest strikeout percentage in the league. Arcia is tied for the league lead with 19 doubles, ranks second with 79 hits, and his .789 OPS and .364 wOBA rank first among qualified Southern League shortstops. Along with Arcia’s six stolen bases, he has created 24% more runs than league average this year. Orlando‘s 18.3% line drive rate is nearly a 6% increase over his mark from last season, and when combined with his speed and high rate of ground balls (46% this year) it doesn’t make his high .330 BABIP seem unreasonable.
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Arcia’s success this season has not gone unnoticed, either. After being ranked as the #54 overall prospect by ESPN’s Keith Law before the season, Orlando has risen up all the way to number 20 overall in Law’s more recent rankings. Arcia was one of 10 Biloxi Shuckers selected to the Southern League All-Star Game, and was chosen to start at shortstop (he went 0-3 with a walk in a 9-0 loss). The Brewers signed Arcia in 2011 as an international free agent, and as such, he will be a member of the “World” team.
Arcia won’t be the only Shucker to represent the Brewers, either. Biloxi’s pitching coach Chris Hook will also serve as the pitching coach for the US team. Hook pitched parts of two seasons with the Giants in the 90s, and has done a phenomenal job with the Shucker’s staff this season. His pitchers have allowed the fewest hits in the Southern League while ranking second in walks allowed, strikeouts, and ERA. This year’s All-Star Futures Game will take place on Sunday, July 13th, as a part of the MLB All-Star Game festivities. You can view both complete rosters here.