Because of numerous injuries, the Braves have needed guys across the board to step up, and nobody has outperformed expectations more than Orlando Arcia.
Once considered a budding young star in the Brewers organization, Arcia never was able to find consistent success offensively, which eventually led to him landing with the Braves in a trade at the beginning of last season. I don’t think Alex Anthopoulos ever thought he would become the team’s starting shortstop, but after filling in admirably for Ozzie Albies in 2022, he was given an opportunity to compete for the vacant job at shortstop following Dansby Swanson‘s departure in free agency.
Not many people inside or outside of the organization expected him to win the job over Vaughn Grissom, but he’s done much more than just that. Orlando Arcia has not only solidified himself as the starting shortstop of the Braves for the foreseeable future–he signed a three-year extension with the team in March–he’s proving to be one of the best shortstops in the National League.
Arcia missed 20 games with a micro-fracture in his wrist, yet he still ranks 32nd in all of baseball with 2.3 fWAR. You know who else has accrued 2.3 fWAR this season… Mike Trout. Let me know if you had that on your bingo card heading into July. The only National League shortstop that has a higher WAR than Arcia is Dansby Swanson at 2.7, but again, he’s also played in 20 more games than Arcia.
On a per game basis, Orlando Arcia has been far and away the best shortstop in the National League. He deserves to be starting in the All-Star game, and while many keep thinking his current production is not sustainable, he continues to keep raking at the plate.
Over his last eight games, Arcia is hitting .464 with an on-base percentage of .531 and an OPS of 1.138. On the season, his average is up to .341. That’s good for the second-highest mark in the league, behind only Luis Arraez. Arcia has also chipped in six homers and boasts an OPS of .890.
Im not sure what’s changed since he arrived in Atlanta, but he showed signs of being a much better offensive player in a short stint last season, recording a career-high 101 OPS+, which is just above league average. I initially attributed a lot of that success to the small sample size, but Arcia is on pace to mash career-marks in every category this season, including OPS+, which currently sits at 137 (37% above league average).
One would think Arcia must cool down eventually, but every time he seems to hit a lull for a week or so, he comes back and hits .500 over the next 10 games. This break out has been fun to watch, and it’s time to start asking the question if this is what we can come to expect from Arcia moving forward.
Photo: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire