Brewers: Orlando Arcia Finally Breaking Out Offensively?

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 07: Orlando Arcia #3 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws to first base in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park on August 07, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 07: Orlando Arcia #3 of the Milwaukee Brewers throws to first base in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Miller Park on August 07, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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The Milwaukee Brewers have had their fair share of struggles both defensively and offensively. Orlando Arcia has struggled in the past few years, however things have look like they’ve changed for the better this season.

Coming into 2020, I was almost certain that we weren’t going to see Orlando Arcia as much as we have been due to the offseason acquisition of Luis Urias. It seemed like Arcia’s everyday position as the Brewers shortstop was in danger and he needed to start producing and soon.

The Brewers received Luis Urias as part of a trade package that sent Zach Davies and Trent Grisham to the San Diego Padres. For only being 23 years old, Urias had a lot going for him. He spent six years in the minors with the Padres, putting up a .308 average and .830 OPS. In the majors, Urias wasn’t quite able to replicate that success with the Padres, so they sent him to Milwaukee.

Something lit up under Orlando Arcia once it was announced that the Brewers were bringing in someone who could potentially become a full-time shortstop, robbing Arcia of his primary position. He crushed it in Spring Training, and it didn’t look like Orlando Arcia was slowing down. Urias would unfortunately miss the Cactus League as he broke his hamate bone back in January, which robbed us of a spring training position battle.

The setbacks kept coming for Urias; He tested positive for COVID-19, keeping him out of the big league lineup even longer. Once he was cleared from the Covid list, Urias spent some time in Appleton, which ended up giving Arcia more time to separate himself and prove to everyone that he should keep his role as the primary shortstop.

Orlando Arcia Is Playing Well

When spring training began, it became clear that Arcia had made some mechanical changes to his swing. In 2019, Arcia was statistically the worst qualifying hitter in all of baseball. It was quite obvious that changes were necessary.

He was quick to get to work with the hitting coaches, Andy Haines and Jacob Cruz, tweaking certain aspects of his stance, his swing, and other things to get a better handle of the ball and help drive it farther. His lower half is under control and he’s been able to stay on time on pitches. By the look of things, that work has paid off this season.

As of right now, Arcia is posting a slashline of .304/.347/.457 with an OPS of .803, one of the better ones among the team. He hit his first home run of the season against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday and was a double shy of the cycle in that game as well. He was just feet away from hitting a grand slam against the Pittsburgh Pirates back in July, but it was just his first extra-base hit of the season.

Arcia has increased his hard-hit rate so far this season, sitting at 39% right now, which is a huge improvement over his 2019 (33.1%) and 2018 (25.5%) numbers. Arcia is also not as pull-heavy this year, going down from 37.2% pull last year to just 24.4% this year. He’s taking the ball back up the middle (53.7%) far more often in 2020 than he did in 2019 (36.4%).

There still isn’t any clear winner in the starting shortstop battle, but we have seen Urias at 3B and 2B since being reinstated from the COVID-19 list. If he’s capable of playing those positions as well, it doesn’t have to be a ‘one or the other’ kind of scenario. If the Brewers need to give Orlando Arcia a day off then Urias should get the start, but so far, with both of them in the lineup, they’ve been able to produce. Both of them have been making great contact with the ball and both are dominating the field defensively.

The swing changes have worked for Arcia, and the added competition of Urias has clearly lit a fire under him. He’s fighting for his job and it’s improved his play. If Arcia can keep up this kind of production throughout the season, the Brewers will be in good shape.

Next. Luis Urias Should Play Everyday, Hit Leadoff. dark

It’s been great to see Arcia improving as a player and reaching his full offensive potential. Fans are hoping this momentum continues throughout the entirety of the season as Orlando Arcia has been a player we’ve been wanting to see break through the slump and be an All-Star player.

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