Atlanta Braves: 3 reasons why Orlando Arcia should be an All-Star

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages
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There are many players on the 2023 Atlanta Braves roster who are worthy of being selected for the All-Star Game. That's a very good problem for any team to have and something Braves fans have come to expect each year.

When Dansby Swanson signed with the Chicago Cubs, there was a lot of speculation on who would man the shortstop position in 2023 for Atlanta. Would Vaughn Grissom get a chance to prove himself? Would the Braves go out and sign Trea Turner?

The answer at the end of the day was... neither. Alex Anthopoulos made the decision to hand the reins to Orlando Arcia. The shortstop was signed to a three-year $7.3 million extension just before the season began. Arcia had been decent for the Braves in 2022 when he took over for Ozzie Albies at second due to injury. He showed flashes of the great player many expected him to be but couldn't sustain that and that is most of the reason why many doubted he could be an everyday starter for the Braves.

However, he now finds himself as a very important piece of the Atlanta lineup and one of their best so far in 2023. He's come through in many clutch situations offensively and is showing off his well above average defensive ability. That has led to an All-Star worthy campaign and there's plenty of reason to believe he should be selected.

1. Outstanding Offensive Output

At the beginning of the season, there weren't many expectations for Arcia to perform at a high level offensively. Everyone knows he's a good defender but there were questions of him being able to provide reliable offensive output

Things started off on the right foot for Orlando as he carried a line of .333/.400/.511 with two doubles and two home runs across 13 games. Unfortunately, he was hit with a 98 mph fastball on the wrist by Reds pitcher Hunter Greene back on April 12th. This resulted in Arcia being placed on the 10-day IL with a microfracture in his left wrist.

Atlanta decided to give Vaughn Grissom a chance in his absence and while the offensive output wasn't lacking from Grissom, his defense wasn't nearly close to the level that Arcia provides. Fortunately, Arcia was able to return in less than a month as he was activated from the IL on May 7th.

Usually when that happens, a player takes time to get back on track and find their groove again. That was not the case for Orlando who picked right back up from where he'd started. He remained one of the best hitters in the Atlanta lineup. Arcia's longest hitless streak has been just two games and that is still the case as the writing of this.

Arcia currently carries an fWAR of 1.5 (6th best in the NL and 8th best in all of MLB) and has the best average amongst all MLB SS with at least 150 plate appearances at a .325 average. He also leads all of Major League shortstops with a .381 on-base percentage and is third best in slugging percentage with a .474 average. His current OPS is .855 with a .374 wOBA and 133 wRC+ in 44 games played.

Since returning to the lineup on May 7th, Arcia is batting .311/.360/.453 with a .812 OPS. He's gotten 33 hits including 3 homers and 12 RBI over 30 games played. This is far and above what many fans expected from Arcia but it's been so much fun to watch him consistently come through when the team needs him to.