For years, Orlando Arcia was a fan favorite and expected to be a big part of the future for the Milwaukee Brewers. But after failing to live up to the lofty expectations of a team's top prospect, the team finally decided it was time to move on.
With the 2021 season barely started, the Brewers shipped Arcia to the Braves for some pitching depth. That trade happened to set the wheels in motion for another one that brought in a new fan favorite shortstop in Willy Adames.
Arcia played a majority of that first season in the Atlanta organization at Triple-A and got off to a slow start when he did see major league playing time for them. Things have been much different here in 2023, however, which leads to an update that many Brewers fans might not have been expecting.
Former Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia is leading NL All-Star voting at his position.
On Tuesday, MLB.com posted their second voting update for the 2023 All-Star game, which takes place this July in Seattle. And just like the first voting update, the aforementioned former Brewers shortstop was atop the voting for his position.
Arcia has a whopping 1,060,559 All-Star votes so far, more than twice as much as the next closest candidate, Francisco Lindor of the Mets. Only teammate Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman of the Dodgers, and Mookie Betts, also of the Dodgers, have tallied more votes than Arcia up to this point.
It's likely that few Brewers fans expected to see something like this some day. Though he started off as a strong defender, All-Star appearances are generally driven by offensive stats and Arcia was not particularly strong in that category during his time in Milwaukee.
In his five full seasons with Milwaukee, Arcia never had an OPS+ above 95 (the league average is 100). His career batting average with the Brewers was .244, his OBP .293, and his slugging .364.
After playing in just 32 games for the Braves in 2021, he played in 67 with them the following season, slashing just .244/.316/.416 as Atlanta tried working him at a number of positions. But in 2023 after winning the starting shortstop job, he finally exploded and is slashing an outstanding .341/.398/.492 in 51 games while sporting a career high 137 OPS+.
It's hard to say if Arcia ever would have broken through on offense had he stayed with the Brewers or if he really needed that change of scenery. It's just good to see a former member of the Crew having some success, even if it had to be elsewhere.