After a strong first full season in the big leagues in 2017, Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia looked primed to take that next step in 2018, but he hasn’t.
The Milwaukee Brewers have centered their rebuild around young shortstop Orlando Arcia. He was their top prospect and one of the most hyped players ever to come through the Crew’s minor league system in a long time.
He showed why last year, with dazzling defense and a .277 batting average to go along with 15 home runs. Things were pointing up for Arcia as he headed into 2018 with more experience and wisdom.
But this year, Arcia has fallen flat. His glove is still as gold as ever, but he’s been sitting around the Mendoza line almost all year. He hasn’t been able to get the bat going at all. And there could be an interesting explanation for all this.
In this video, Ken Rosenthal casually mentions that some within the Milwaukee Brewers front office believe Orlando Arcia showed up to spring training this year out of shape. This is the first I’ve ever heard of this, but it could explain his lack of success this year.
Why wasn’t he in shape?
This is really odd to me. Coming through the minor league system, all anyone could talk about, besides his defense, was Arcia’s character. He had a good head on his shoulders and was seen as very mature for his age. But showing up to spring training out of shape is not a mature thing to do.
If we remember back to February, there were only two position players that didn’t show up until the mandatory reporting date. Those two were Ryan Braun and Orlando Arcia. Everyone else was there early. It didn’t strike anyone as concerning then, but maybe it’s worse than we all thought.
I really can’t speak as to why Arcia showed up out of shape. Maybe he felt that his shortstop job was locked up and didn’t go 100% in the offseason because he wasn’t battling anyone for his spot. Maybe he got too comfortable with his standing with the team. I don’t know, I don’t want to put thoughts in his head or falsely accuse him of anything.
But for a high character player that’s still very young, showing up to camp out of shape is a very serious accusation. It took until now for anyone to hear about this. And the fact that it’s just a footnote in Rosenthal’s report suggests it may not be a big deal at all.
Could that be the cause for his poor season?
Not necessarily. The main reason he’s not doing well at the plate is because of issues with his swing and not his strength or conditioning. His head is moving too much at the plate, making it harder to pick up on pitches and hit them.
Perhaps there were things the Milwaukee Brewers wanted Arcia to work on and fix during the offseason and he didn’t, and that’s why they believed he was out of shape, but his swing is what’s dragging him down right now. Also, Arcia has been spending a lot more time out of the lineup than expected right now. Even though he’s struggling, he needs to get opportunities to hit.
Arcia probably needs some more time in Triple-A to work on fixing his swing, as it’s been a month since his last extra-base hit. His struggles at the plate could lead to the Crew adding a shortstop at the deadline if production doesn’t pick up.