The Dec. 2nd deadline to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players is fast approaching. Today we examine potential Brewers non-tender candidate Orlando Arcia.
Despite having one of the worst offensive statistical season of all players during the 2019 season the Brewers tendered Orlando Arcia a contract for the 2020 season. In a short 2020 season he took a step forward, but was it enough to warrant him a contract with the Brewers in 2021?
On the surface Orlando Arcia was viewed as one of the Brewers most consistent hitters in 2020. This resulted in career best marks in slugging percentage (.416) and OPS (.734) for the 26-year-old shortstop.
One big reason for this was that he hit the breaking ball substantially better than he did in 2019. In both 2019 and 2020, 33% of the pitches he saw were breaking balls, but in 2019 his batting average against these pitches was just .195 with a .270 slugging percentage. In 2020 these numbers increased to a .269 batting average and .462 slugging.
Arcia also had improved plate discipline numbers in 2020. His whiff and chase percentages were the lowest of his career. This does match what we saw during game action as it felt like he was never in a slump offensively this season nor chasing bad pitches, but the small sample size does make us question if this change was real or not heading into the 2021 season.
One thing to consider when analyzing the fact that Arcia chased the fewest amount of pitches in 2020 was that he also swung the bat the least amount as well. In his first three years in the league he generally swung the bat 52-53% of the time. In 2020, this number decreased to 46.5%.
To add on to chasing the fewest amount of pitches and swinging at a career low number of pitches, he also saw the fewest amount of strikes in 2020 as well. Once one starts factoring all of this in it suddenly becomes difficult to assess whether the progressions we saw in Arcia’s offensive game was real or misleading based on the smaller sample size.
All statistics aside, Arcia is entering his second year of arbitration and his projected salary for the 2021 season is $2.7MM-$3.8MM. If the Brewers elect to non-tender Arcia, Luis Urias would likely be next in line to receive the everyday shortstop reps. On the contrary, if Arcia is tendered a contract for 2021, he likely will still have to win the starting shortstop job in spring training.
While Urias managed to hit his way through the minor leagues in the Padres organization, his ability to hit off of major league pitching consistently is a skill still yet to be unlocked. This makes entering the 2021 season with just Urias as the everyday shortstop a tad bit risky.
That being said, I do believe that the Brewers will tender Orlando Arcia a contract for the 2021 season. With hopefully a normal 2021 season, allowing the Arcia vs Urias battle to play out is intriguing to me and a win-win for the Milwaukee Brewers as the player who excels the most will get the job.
Orlando Arcia is one of many tender deadline decisions that the Brewers have to make prior to the December 2nd deadline. Be sure to stay tuned to Reviewing the Brew for our takes on potential non-tender candidates.