Braves: Potential Orlando Arcia replacement goes off in Gwinnett

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Though the Braves offense finally woke up this weekend, there are still questions about whether this is a lineup capable of winning a World Series without Ronald Acuña Jr. Upgrades must be made, and most expect them to come in the form of trades. The Braves could use at least a couple more outfielders, but shortstop is also a place that could be bolstered.

Finding a high quality shortstop at this year’s trade deadline may turn out to be an impossible task for Alex Anthopoulos, but there is a name on the farm worth keeping a close eye on, Nacho Alvarez. The 21-year-old recently received a promotion to Gwinnett, and his first week with the Stripers could not have gone better.

After playing 48 games in Mississippi without a home run, Alvarez already has two since he was promoted in just five games. He’s racked up 11 hits in 23 plate appearances, good for a .478 batting average and 1.326 OPS. He’s turning heads and could end up being just what this Braves offense is missing.

Nobody should expect Alvarez to come to the majors anytime soon and blast 20 homers. He doesn’t have that kind of power at this stage of his development. The hope is that he will grow into some more with time, but right now, that’s not what he brings to the table. However, what he does offer is a fantastic contact bat with a very good eye that has gotten on-base at nearly a .400 clip over the last two seasons. He’s a prototypical leadoff guy, and that is something Atlanta no longer has with Ronald Acuña Jr. out.

This isn’t a move I would expect anytime soon. Orlando Arcia has always been a streaky hitter. He could very well be a few days away from going on a two-month tear, similar to the one he went on during the first half of last season. However, over his last 44 games, Arcia is hitting .171 with a .500 OPS. Dating back to August 15th of last year, he’s hitting just .217 with a 67 wRC+ (33% below league average).

An argument can be made that Orlando Arcia’s defense is so good that his offense is irrelevant. The Braves may decide that is the case, at least for this season. However, Nacho Alvarez is no slouch defensively. If he continues to trend in the right direction while Arcia struggles, a change could be made as early as this season. It’s certainly something to follow closely over the coming weeks.

Photo: Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire

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