August 1st was quite a busy day for the Milwaukee Brewers. They sent LHP Will Smith to San Francisco. And of course they sent C Jonathan Lucroy and RHP Jeremy Jeffress to the Texas. But they were done making headlines. And while technically it happen in the wee hours of August 2nd, I haven’t sleep yet so I’m counting the announcement that top prospect SS Orlando Arcia will receive his first major league call-up as part of the the Aug 1 party.
SS Orlando Arcia will be recalled from Triple-A @skysox tomorrow. He will be making his Major League debut.— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) August 2, 2016
This is pretty exciting news if you’ve been following the young shortstop’s career. Originally signed in 2010 the then 16 year old flew under a lot of radars for several years. He missed the 2012 season to an injury which didn’t help boost his profile. But he was always well regarded for his glove. Then in 2014 he hit 289/346/392 with 31 SB. People started to take notice. After hitting 307/347/453 with 8 HR and 25 SB the potential was clear to everyone.
He opened the 2016 season as a top 10 rated prospect in the minors and people wondered if he might find himself on the Brewers roster before the end of May. Unfortunately he didn’t hit quite as well as hoped in Colorado Springs: 269/322/407. It’s not awful, but not nearly as good as expected or hoped for. That doesn’t really matter though. The potential still exists and evidence of this can be seen in his mid-season ranking of 13th on MLB Pipeline’s global top 100 despite his struggles. Clearly the Brewers feel he’s ready for a shot in the majors.
Orlando Arcia will make his Major League debut tomorrow in San Diego, starting at shortstop. Jonathan Villar to play third base. #MILatSD— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) August 2, 2016
Again, this is pretty exciting. They’re showing a lot investment and confidence in their young shortstop of the future not only by giving him SS right away, but by moving Jonathan Villar off the spot he’s been playing for the majority of the season—and playing well.
As long as Villar proves he can handle everyday duties at the hot corner, we’re looking at the long term answer at each position. Jonathan Villar has hit 293/376/430 with 8 HR and an MLB leading 39 SB. That will definitely play at 3B. And that’s huge, because before acquiring Villar, the Brewers didn’t really have an answer for the position at any level of their farm system.
Orlando Arcia is easily the best defensive shortstop in the Brewers system. He’s gets plus grades for his glove, speed, and arm. That speed clearly translates to the base paths as well where he’s a legit 30 stolen base threat. He’s shown glimpses of an above average bat as well. There’s some power in it, but think more 8-12 HR. Last year was a high point for him offensively, but he’s struggled a bit this year. So we probably shouldn’t expect him to take off at the MLB level right away.
It’s entirely possible that Arcia struggles and the Brewers feel it’s in his best interest to send him back to AAA Colorado Springs. But I don’t believe this move is just for show. He’ll be given quite a long leash. And I think there’s a very good chance he’s at the major league level from now on. Even if it takes a bit for the bat to come around, Brewers fans should be treated to quite the defensive show right out of the gate. Welcome to the Orlando Arcia era!
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs