Time for the red-hot Nacho Alvarez to replace Orlando Arcia?

MLB: JUL 21 Braves at Brewers

The trade deadline is approaching, and the Braves don’t have a choice but to take a long and hard look at the shortstop position. Orlando Arcia has been dreadful at the plate over the last calendar year and has basically been unplayable since the end of April. Over his last 51 games, he’s hitting well below the Mendoza Line with a .161 batting average and an unsightly .472 OPS. Arcia has essentially been an automatic out for the last two months, and it would be one thing if he was still playing elite level defense, but he’s regressed in that area as well.

At this point, Arcia is arguably the worst offensive player in baseball that’s slightly above average defensively. He’s undoubtedly the weak link on the Braves roster and must be replaced as the starter. It’s been obvious to anybody that is paying attention, but Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t have a clear-cut place to turn.

The Braves could possibly search for an answer at the trade deadline, but even if one is available, a significant upgrade is going to cost an arm and a leg. It’s likely the club is stuck with what they have internally, and the solution may be right in front of them in Gwinnett.

Since receiving a promotion to the Stripers, top prospect Nacho Alvarez has been on an absolute tear with the stick. He’s hitting .385 with three homers and five doubles — good for a 1.102 OPS — in 12 games, and his heater continued last night, as he went 2-for-4 with a double and a couple of RBIs, along with this ridiculous defensive play.

At no point in my pre-season evaluation of the Braves did I expect to be calling for Nacho Alvarez before the All-Star break. He could undoubtedly use some more seasoning in the minors, but Orlando Arcia is a serious problem and has been since August of last year. He’s not a starting-caliber shortstop at the major league level, which has been the case for essentially his entire career.

Sometimes circumstances force the hand of organizations. The Braves would probably like for Nacho Alvarez to spend the rest of the year in Gwinnett. It’s not like he was tearing the cover off the ball in Mississippi before he was promoted, hitting just .265 with seven extra-base hits (no homers) over 48 games. But we are getting to the point where the Braves might not have a choice. The offense needs a spark, and while there’s no telling if Nacho Alvarez is ready to provide that right now, it’s highly unlikely to come from Orlando Arcia.

Photo: Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire


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