The Milwaukee Brewers are clearly a team in transition. While Ryan Braun is looking like the player he once was before his 2013 on- and off-field downfall, the Brewers are a team currently devoid of a superstar. That superstar, however, could be in Triple-A.
Most people privy to Minor League Baseball’s elite prospects are aware of the name Orlando Arcia. The 21-year-old shortstop has been nothing short of sensational since signing out of Venezuela and debuting in 2011 at the age of 16. Heading into the 2016 season, he was widely regarded as a top-five prospect in baseball.
Arcia came to the Brewers as a defensive presence hoping to lock up their future in the middle of the infield. What he has done over the past five years (he lost all of his 2012 to a broken ankle) is improve his offense. Every aspect of his game has gotten better each year, and his start to 2016 is showing that his 2015 offensive breakout was no fluke.
One thing that usually shows how legitimate an elite prospect will be is how they handle the job from High-A ball to Double-A. Many will tell you that this jump is more telling than how a prospect shows up in Triple-A. Arcia handled the jump well enough to have the best season of his career.
Arcia slashed .307/.347/.453 last year, all career bests for the three seasons in which he played over 100 games. He had 157 hits, 52 of which went for extra bases (that’s 33 percent!). He hit a career-high 37 doubles — which led the Southern League — as well as eight home runs, a mere six less than he hit the previous three years combined. He showed off his plus-speed and improved base-path awareness as well, as he swiped a career high 76 percent of his bases (25-for-33). He skyrocketed up the prospect charts, becoming the Brewers top prospect and in the conversation as the best in baseball.
He is average height for a shortstop, standing at 6-feet and weighing 165 pounds, so not Carlos Correa but not quite Ozzie Smith. His batting stance is pretty simple. Arcia stands pretty straight at the plate, twirling his bat by his head before dropping his hands into the zone as the pitch approaches. He takes a big leg kick and whips the bat through the strike zone. When he connects it’s a big quick swing that muscles the ball out of the yard.
So why isn’t Arcia in Milwaukee yet?
What does Arcia have left to prove in the minors? Find out 2016 projections, as well as more analysis and sick videos of his future gold glove winning defense by heading on over to Today’s Knuckleball by clicking on the link below: