Choosing Orlando Arcia as their shortstop surprised and confused Atlanta Braves fans
By Fred Owens
Orlando Arcia: What to Expect
The Braves named Arcia their shortstop supported by the idea that he was a starting shortstop for three years. Left unsaid was that Fangraphs shows that his defense declined sharply in 2019 when he posted – 6 outs above average, –5 RAA, and –2 DRS.
Washington undoubtedly worked on and hopefully improved Arcia’s defense; only time will tell.
At the plate, Arcia’s 2022 is his best since the 2020 farce and his best full season since 2017, but the sample size was small and likely deceptive. Statistically, he strikes out and walks around league average, and we’ve seen Arcia run into a few mistakes and hit them out, but he has a career 51.3% ground ball rate and isn’t a speedster; his 26.4 ft/sec makes him slower than William Contreras and Juan Soto.
The last time Arcia was worth more than one win over a season was 2017, when he posted 2.0 fWAR. His work since then came with a 0.7 fWAR in 2020 and again last year.
Arcia plays at 28; maybe he’ll have a bounce-back year in what should be his prime. I think the Atlanta Braves would loudly applaud anything over 1.0 fWAR this year.
That’s a Wrap
I don’t believe keeping Adrianza is the reason the Atlanta Braves demoted both players. Keeping the player you know has value, but it isn’t a reason to make a roster move such as this, and players like Adrianza are available most days.
What I find most troubling is the way the Braves hyped Grissom as the guy, to the point where his manager said he or Shewmake would break camp with the team 48 hours before they sent both down. It's true they said he and Arcia would compete, but fans were always told how Grissom was progressing and that there were no doubts he could handle the job.
Snitker is a company man, but he believed what he said and was caught off guard by the decision. If that’s the case, it’s unsettling at best.
The Braves will continue to search for a better option. Maybe the Guardians would trade one of their middle infielders, the Brewers suddenly collapse and deal Adames, or the shortstop fairy taps someone on the shoulder and anoints them a Major League shortstop. Until then, we can only wait and wonder what’s next.