Does the arrival of Luis Urias mean the end of Orlando Arcia at shortstop for the Milwaukee Brewers? How do the two young shortstops stack up?
The Milwaukee Brewers sent outfielder Trent Grisham and starter Zach Davies to the San Diego Padres for starter Eric Lauer and shortstop Luis Urias. Lauer will slot into the back of the Brewers rotation in 2020, but what about Urias? Will he push Orlando Arcia out of a job?
How did Arica perform in 2019?
Arcia had another frustrating season with the Brewers. He didn’t get sent down to Triple-A like he did in 2018, but he did not have a good season.
Arcia slashed .223/.283/.350 in 546 plate appearances with the Brewers. He did hit 15 homers and steal eight bases in 13 attempts, but he only scored 51 runs and drove in 59. That’s a lot of chances to post really, really mediocre numbers.
As rough as Arcia was at the plate, it didn’t carry over to the infield. He has a fantastic glove and a strong, accurate throwing arm. He’s everything a team would want at shortstop from a defensive standpoint.
How far has Urias developed?
Urias won’t turn 23 until next June, and he already has 83 games of experience in the Majors. He split 2019 between Triple-A and San Diego. He slashed .315/.398/.600 in 73 games in the Minors in 2019, but struggled to a .223/.329/.326 line in 71 games in the Majors. He jacked 19 homers in Triple-A, and managed to hit four
The number that jumps out is the .329 on-base percentage. He only hit .223, but he was still able to get on base.
Urias only stands 5’9″, so the 19 homers looks a bit out of the ordinary give his smaller stature. His ability to hit for contact far outweighs his ability to hit for power. His glove is solid, his bat is capable, and his plate discipline is impressive. He’s not going to develop into a power hitter.
His strikeout rate has been in double digits each of the last three years, and that’s a concern for a shortstop who probably won’t hit for power in the Majors. Urias needs to leverage his ability to get on base and shorten his swing if he really wants to stick in an every day lineup.
What happens at shortstop for the Brewers in 2020?
Arcia is arbitration eligible for the first time in his career. He’s projected to earn around $2.7 million next year. The Brewers are especially cost conscious, but $2.7 million for a one-year deal isn’t going to break the budget.
Arcia is the odds on favorite to start at shortstop on Opening Day 2020. It would take a disaster of a spring to move Arcia out of the starting lineup to start the season. It would also take another disaster start to the year by Arcia to move Urias from Triple-A to the Majors.
Could either player get traded?
If the choices are to release Arcia, send Arcia to Triple-A, or trade one of their shortstops, the trade is the most likely scenario for the Milwaukee Brewers. The move for Urias could be a part of another move that GM David Stearns could make, or he could look to flip Arcia to a team that thinks his swing can be fixed.
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The Milwaukee Brewers have legitimate competition at shortstop for the first time in three years…right now. The roster will likely look very different by the time Opening Day rolls around, and at least one of the Brewers’ shortstops could be elsewhere.