Our 2020 Milwaukee Brewers season report card series continues. This time, we take a look at the season of Orlando Arcia.
A year removed from being one of the worst offensive players in the MLB, Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia had a bounce back season in 2020. In fact, last year here at Reviewing the Brew we gave him a D- grade for his performance in during the 2019 season.
Last off-season, the Brewers recognized they had a hole offensively at shortstop and acquired Luis Urias, whom many believed was brought in to challenge Arcia for the everyday shortstop job.
Unfortunately for Urias, he would end up having hand surgery in the early spring, tested positive for COVID around the start of summer camp, and began the season not on the opening day roster. With this, Arcia got the first shot at retaining the every day shortstop position and he did not falter.
Arcia appeared in 59 regular season games for the Brewers this season, of which he was not the starting shortstop in just seven games. The Brewers as a team were dreadful on offense this year but one could easily argue that Arcia was one of the most consistent hitters all season.
With his bounce back 2020 season, how did he grade out?
Orlando Arcia 2020 Report Card
Orlando Arcia’s 2020 season was exactly the type of season Brewer fans are happy with and had wanted out of him in previous years. His .260 batting average, .416 slugging percentage, and .734 on base plus slugging percentage do not scream all star, but rather represent a solid batter in the lineup that opposing pitchers have to take seriously.
As mentioned above, Arcia got the first crack at the starting shortstop job and he began the year as the team’s hottest hitter. He was the lone Brewer to record a hit off of Kyle Hendricks in the opening day shutout, in fact he collected three base knocks that night. Arcia collected nine multi-hit games in 2020, including two four-hit games against the Tigers and Cardinals.
The most impressive aspect of Arcia’s season was his increased plate discipline. The slider down and away had been his nemesis since entering the league in 2016, but this year he was able to lay off of pitches outside of the zone at a career best 28%. This is just a slight improvement from a 30% chase rate in 2019 and 34% in 2018 and 2017, but it was very noticeable.
With a 60-game season, the aspect to consider with Arcia is whether or not his improved plate discipline is “fools gold” or not. Throughout his career we have seen him go through spurts of seeing the ball very well and ruts of swinging at pitches way outside of the zone.
It is encouraging that he was very consistent with his approach throughout the duration of this season. However, one has to wonder how disciplined he would have stayed throughout 162 games.
Arcia figures to play an important role in the Brewers offense in 2021. Hopefully he can build upon the success and strides he made in the brief 2020 season and can be a consistent contributor throughout the duration of a normal 162-game baseball season.