Despite showing some brief flashes of improvement at times during the 2019 season, it was another disappointing one for Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia.
Shortstop has not been a position that the Milwaukee Brewers have been able to depend on in recent seasons.
Though they’ve had a couple of exciting young prospects come through the ranks at that position over the years, none have been able to live up the lofty expectations that were put upon them. Orlando Arcia fits that same bill.
2019 was yet another disappointing season for the young shortstop. Though he showed some brief flashes at times, both with the bat and in the field, his overall performance this season was one of the worst on the team. His inconsistencies will leave the team looking for alternatives on the market in his position in the coming weeks.
2019 Season Grade: D-
Orlando Arcia started the 2019 season off on a good note at the plate.
The 25 year old did go 0-14 at the plate through his first four starts. However, he recovered from those opening four games to post a respectable slash line in the month of April (.264/.319/.448), and flashed some of the home run power he had shown during the Brewers playoff run the season before (four home runs).
Even in the month of May, when his power slipped a bit (.409 slugging percentage), Arcia continued to show substantial improvement in his plate discipline (.377 on base percentage that month), and his ability to make contact (.290 batting average). Both of those things were a major reason why he struggled significantly at the plate the season before.
On the defensive end, through the first two plus months, the slick fielder was playing slightly above average defense too according to Fangraphs defensive rating system. The combination of his bat and his defense saw him post 0.5 fWAR through May 31, which was fifth best on the team.
Unfortunately, that decent start to the season would not last. In fact, the wheels came off pretty quickly for him once the Milwaukee Brewers hit the summer months.
In the month of June, his slash line plummeted from .290/.377/.409 the month prior, to .184/.286/.391. His defense began to regress as well, leading manager Craig Counsell to call it out in the media. His issues in the field, in particular, led to him being benched in favor of Tyler Saladino by the end of the month.
Though Arcia’s defense would recover some after that rough month, he was never able to produce at the plate in a way that was anywhere close to acceptable for a Major League player.
Over the final three months, he produced a horrid slash line of .204/.263/.287 across 242 plate appearances. His WRC+ during that time was just 40. Even Travis Shaw, who was mired in the worst slump of his career, produced a better WRC+ (42) in the final three months of the season than Arcia.
The only bright spot for Arcia would come in the final weeks. After his wife gave birth to twins on September 8, he would come back and have a couple of solid games at the plate to close out the month, and had some amazing defensive moments. Those final three weeks were the only time he hadn’t been a complete liability at the plate since May
Overall, 2019 was a major letdown for the former top prospect. He finished the season tied as the second worst player in terms of fWAR (-0.4) on the team. His WRC+ of 61 was the worst among all qualified hitters by over 13 points in baseball.
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Time is running out for Orlando Arcia to become a Major League starter. With the Milwaukee Brewers being contenders entering next season, there will be real pressure for them to find someone better than him to play at his position. We’ll see if they’re willing to give him one last chance in 2020.