2022 Braves Player Review: Orlando Arcia

Orlando Arcia has always been a bit of a tease. Initially signing with the Brewers out of Venezuela, he was one of the highest rated international prospects in his class and got the 3rd highest bonus that year.He would go on to earn the “Brewers minor league player of the year” in 2015 and appear in the Future’s Game. The sky was the limit.

Then he got to the majors and proceeded to be distinctly below average with the bat and slightly below grade at short, ending up at almost exactly replacement level. The difference in offensive output was because of the extra movement MLB pitchers have compared to their minor league brethren. He simply made too much soft contact.

Upon acquisition, the Braves smartly decided that the reason for his inability to make contact adjustments was due to lack of upper body strength and they had him bulk up in the offseason and early in the year while he was down at Gwinnett. It worked! Orlando put in by far his best year at the plate and looks like a useful bench piece going forward… but the effect of the extra body mass on his fielding was unfortunate to the degree that AA and the rest of the braintrust decided to first have a look at Robbie Cano and then bring a kid up directly from AA after the Ozzie Albies injury. The numbers don’t lie: he was pretty bad out there.

So where does that leave him? Well, projection systems actually favor him carrying much of his gains at the bat with him for 2023 which makes Arcia one of the better hitting utility infielders in the game. Given that he was already bad at short before we traded for him and really is that bad at second, the ideal usage would be him filling in at third or DH against a lefty or junkballing righthander. We shall see if Snit can manage him this way!

Arcia has a $1.8M contract for 2023 so he is going to get some playing time. Let’s hope last season’s 232 plate appearances weren’t just another tease.

6 thoughts on “2022 Braves Player Review: Orlando Arcia”

  1. To my eye, Arcia at least looked more sure handed than Grissom at second base. I don’t doubt that his range sucked, though.

  2. Bowman thinks the whole Grissom/Arcia plan is a farce and suggests that AA is going to bring in Andrus. Andrus and Washington go way back, he points out.

  3. The marketplace clearly doesn’t think they’d be buying 2022 Andrus (3.5 fWAR) and more like the Andrus from 2017-2021 (averaged 1.5 fWAR across a full season, when healthy) or else Andrus would be signed. Dansby Swanson just become a future billionaire because he was a good, not great, shortstop, and half the teams in baseball don’t have someone on their roster capable of producing Andrus’ 2022 season, and they don’t want him.

  4. I think it’s interesting that Bowman, who’s a company man, would be so openly dismissive of the idea that Grissom/Arcia can hold down that position.

    Rob, I think you’re right. It’s likely Andrus gets signed by someone during spring training when his price comes down.

    I remember the ’99 team had the corpses of Weiss and Guillen holding down short. Those two seemed like they were screwed into the ground. And the team still won over 100 games.

  5. I don’t mind the idea of bringing in Andrus, especially if the idea is that Grissom is getting groomed at AAA to take over the spot full-time after a few months. The biggest problem, similar to what Bowman discussed, is that if Grissom starts there and fails miserably, your fallback is Arcia. If Arcia fails miserably, the fallback is Shewmake. No one wants either of those scenarios to play out.

    This scenario is fairly unrealistic, but it happened last year in left field and 2B.

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