Orlando Arcia has been playing well in Gwinnett. Should the Atlanta Braves turn to give Arcia a shot with the big-league club?
Since then, Braves fans have been looking for Arcia to make his way to Atlanta. His hot start in Gwinnett, combined with Dansby Swanson’s slow start, has led to a more vocal cry for his promotion.
Would Arcia benefit the Braves?
Arcia’s Strong Start
Arcia has started the year hitting .393/.462/.839 with seven home runs, 17 runs, 12 RBI, .535 wOBA, and a 229 wRC+. This impressive start makes it clear why the demand for Arcia is growing louder on social media.
He is providing some exciting moments, like this walk-off home run.
He has also had some fun running the bases.
He has been a catalyst for the Stripers early in the 2021 season. This excitement has brought more attention his way as fans continue to wonder if he could bring this level of energy to the Braves.
It is important to note that the entire Stripers offense has been hot to start the year, not just Arcia. Look at these OPS numbers.
The Stripers offense has been exciting through 13 games. Is this start real or is it just a hot streak in a small sample?
Also, side note before moving on, the pitcher that gave up the walk-off was none other than Shane Carle — an old friend of the Braves.
Dansby Swanson’s Slow Start
There is another major reason why fans are looking for Arcia’s promotion. That would be Dansby Swanson struggling to begin the season.
Swanson is currently hitting .201/.265/.351 with five home runs, 14 runs, 15 RBI, a .266 wOBA, and a 65 wRC+. This includes 54 strikeouts in 154 at-bats.
That is not ideal.
It is a little disappointing since Swanson is coming off his best season. In 2020, Swanson hit .274/.345/.464 with 10 home runs, 49 runs, 35 RBI, .348 wOBA, and a 116 wRC+. This was good enough for a 1.9 fWAR in the shortened 2020 season.
However, Swanson’s breakout season was during the shortened 2020 season. Another way to look at it is a two-month sample.
Most people have agreed that it is hard to judge the 2020 season because it was only 60 games.
Let us look at Swanson’s career as a whole: .246/.317/.393 with a .302 wOBA and an 84 wRC+.
Overall, Swanson has struggled since arriving in the big leagues. Swanson has provided the Braves with some special moments in his young career but has mostly disappointed considering he was once considered a top prospect.
If Swanson continues to struggle, the calls for Arcia will only grow louder.
Arcia’s Track Record
Fans may be screaming for Arcia, but what can they actually expect from him?
Arcia was a former top prospect for the Brewers, but much like Swanson with the Braves, he never lived up to the potential many believed he had.
Arcia’s career line to date: .244/.293/.364 with a .282 wOBA and a 71 wRC+.
Conveniently, his best season was also 2020 where he slashed .260/.317/.416 five home runs, 22 runs, 20 RBI, two stolen bases, .317 wOBA, 96 wRC+, and a 0.7 fWAR.
Thus far in his MLB career, he has been a below-average hitter. He has been somewhat comparable defensively to Swanson throughout their careers.
Which leads to the question: Would he be an improvement over Swanson?
Should Arcia Get a Shot?
While Arcia has struggled in his major league career to this point, it is important to note that he is still only 26. He is still young enough to potentially figure it out.
There is also the old adage that maybe a change in scenery is what is needed to turn his career around. Perhaps he will enjoy hitting in Truist Park?
That remains to be seen as he has stayed in AAA and the alternate site since the Braves acquired him. There is the thought that the Braves are waiting to call him up to gain an extra year of control.
Anytime a team trades for a player during the season, fans (and rightfully so) wonder when the player will make an impact for the big-league club. Add in that the players traded were Sobotka, a player who had been in the big leagues before, and Weigel, a former top prospect.
There is also the shot that this was just a way to clear a forty-man spot while also acquiring middle infield depth.
Whatever the reason was for acquiring him, he has done nothing but impress since arriving in Gwinnett. The support for Arcia will only continue to grow if he continues to play the way he has, and Swanson’s struggles remain.
Will we see Orlando Arcia in a Braves uniform in 2020? Could he really take the job away from Dansby Swanson?
Personally, I am not sure if Arcia will just take the job away from Swanson, it would probably take an injury to get Arcia the starting job. However, I am intrigued by him as another bench option.
Time will tell what the Braves’ plans are for Arcia.