Milwaukee Brewers: What’s wrong with Orlando Arcia?

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 19: Orlando Arcia
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 19: Orlando Arcia /

Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia is off to a rough start to the 2018 season. Do the peripheral stats say that there’s improvement ahead?

Orlando Arcia enjoyed a mini-breakout in 2017 with 15 homers, 14 steals, and a .277 batting average while playing every day last year. The Milwaukee Brewers expected Arcia to continue to develop into an offensive force in 2018. That hasn’t happened. Let’s find out why.

How rough is Arcia’s April?

It’s been really rough. Arcia owns a .531 OPS in 85 plate appearances. He’s managed to hit a pair of homers and steal one base. Arcia has missed time with a stomach bug and an ankle injury. Pretty much everything that could go wrong for Arcia has gone wrong in April.

What do the peripheral stats say?

Well, Arcia’s struggles aren’t showing up in his plate discipline stats. From his swinging strike percentage to his contact rate, everything is within a standard deviation of his career average. Arcia is still taking the same approach that he had last year. His 4.7% walk rate is lower than the 6.6% mark he posted last year. But, it’s still within a standard deviation of is career average. If there’s an issue, it’s not showing up in his plate discipline numbers.

Where does show up is in his line drive percentage. Only 8.1% of the balls Arcia has put in play are classified as a line drive. That’s down from 19.9% last year. The result is a lot more ground balls and fly balls. It’s really no wonder that Arcia’s BABIP is over 60 points below his career average with his lack of line drives.

Can Arcia be fixed?

It’s entirely possible that the Milwaukee Brewers can get Arcia straightened out. He’s simply too young and too talented to continue to struggle like he has.

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Arcia has been with the Milwaukee Brewers for over 200 games. In that time, he’s average a line drive rate just over 18.0%. Unless he has suffered an injury or forgotten how to hit, Arcia should post a line drive rate closer to 18.0% than 9.9%. The good news is that his percentages of soft, medium, and hard contact are almost identical to his percentages from his mini-breakout in 2017. He’s making the same contact, there’s just not getting the same results. Arcia may need to adjust his swing path to elevate the ball a bit more, but there isn’t a glaring issue in the peripheral stats. It’s just a statistical variance at this point and not indicative of an underlying issue.