A long season for Orlando Arcia, the Brewers' star shortstop prospect, is finally over after the Brewers chose not to approve the request of he and his club to extend his stay in Venezuela:
Using the magic of the Bing translator, we get the following message: "Orlando Arcia aspires to extend its participation with Caribes, but did not receive permission from Milwaukee." The timing is a bit odd, since only two games remain on the schedule for the Caribes, who are two games out of the championship series and are facing a pair of must-win games. As unlikely as it was that they would be able to force a tie atop the standings, their chances are even shorter after losing their starting shortstop.
In 28 games with Caribes, Arcia hit .295/.391/.421 with a home run and matching 12.5% K and BB ratios. With his team still in the playoff hunt, it's both understandable and encouraging to see Arcia asking to stay, but the Brewers have made the decision to protect the health of their top prospect. Overall in 2015, the 21-year-old appeared in 165 games -- not including Spring Training -- and had 698 plate appearances between his playoff-bound Biloxi Shuckers and the probably not-playoff-bound Caribes.
Whether or not Arcia will make his major league debut in 2016 continues to be a point of contention among scouts and prognosticators. While many have said -- to the great delight of fans -- that they expect to see Arcia in Milwaukee sometime this summer, the Brewers have brought Arcia along by having him spend one full season at every minor league level per year, and it should surprise no one if that's the plan for 2016 as well.
With Milwaukee's playoff hopes next season likely over before the first pitch is thrown, there are arguments to be made for both sides: letting him cut his teeth on major league pitching in a lost season vs. wasting a valuable year of control. With the Brewers major league roster stacked with middle infielders -- Jean Segura, Jonathan Villar,
Luis Sardinas, Hernan Perez and Yadiel Rivera are all players that could make the Opening Day roster with shortstop experience -- there's no reason to rush Arcia along, even if a trade is made from that depth.
Also playing in the Venezuelan Winter League is recently acquired 2B Javier Betancourt. The 20-year-old is hitting .243/.282/.351/ for Leones, working mostly from the bench in 18 games.