The Atlanta Braves invested their hopes and dreams into Orlando Arcia this offseason. They let Dansby Swanson walk in free agency and chose Arcia as the replacement. AA even signed Arcia to a three-year extension.
Arcia has played solid defense this year with what appears to be a breakout season at the plate.
In 2016, Arcia was Baseball America's 8th-best prospect in all of baseball. He came off a 2015 in which he hit .307 while slugging .453. He swiped 25 bags and won the Minor League Gold Glove in Double-A at shortstop. The Brewers thought they had an infield anchor for the future.
However, Arcia just could not hit with the Brewers. Over six years with the Brewers, Arcia slashed .244/.293/.364. In 2021, they traded Arcia and his .091 average to the Braves for Patrick Weigel and Chad Sobotka. Over his time with the Brewers, he posted a 72 OPS+. That would be an OPS that is 28% lower than the league average OPS.
In 2021 with the Braves, Arcia continued to rake. Not like a euphemism for hitting well, but like he was trying to hit the ball with an upside-down rake in his hands. That's not very effective in any scenario, let alone the big leagues.
Until August 11th, Arcia was holding down an average of around .300. It appeared his breakout was legitimate. The moment we had to start digging for reasons to worry, Arcia started giving us one.
Is this the real Orlando Arcia?
As good as it feels like Arcia has been with the Braves, his OPS+ is just 99. A recent cold streak has dropped his "breakout season's" OPS down to just 104. Overall, I think we'd all be happy with a 104 OPS+ from Arcia but the numbers over the past two weeks are alarming.
Since August 11th, Arcia has hit .089 with a .163 OBP and a .156 SLG. Guys, it's been bad. He has 10 strikeouts to just four hits over his past 49 plate appearances.
The question is, is this the real Arcia? Was he due for this sort of regression or is it just a cold streak? Arcia's expected stats indicate this might be regression.
He has an xBA of .250 compared to his actual .275 average. Keep in mind, that his .275 average has dropped by about 25 points over the past two weeks!
His xSLG is .416 while his real slugging percentage is .434. His career SLG is just .379. Acuna's career OBP is higher than Arcia's career SLG.
It feels like Arcia puts a lot of balls on the ground and the numbers support that. The league average is a 44.7% groundball rate. Arcia puts 55% of his balls in play on the ground. He has the sixth-highest groundball percentage in all of baseball.
Despite the fact that Arcia is basically a league-average hitter right now, he might still be outperforming his skillset.
Arcia is playing tremendous defense and is even in the 91st percentile in OAA! The Braves lineup is so stacked they don't need him to have a breakout offensive season. His contributions have been a bonus this year. So, even if he falls back to Earth, it's all going to be okay!