Why Orlando Arcia may surprise fans with an impressive 2024 season

There is a chance Atlanta's shortstop could have his best season in 2024.

Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game Two
Division Series - Philadelphia Phillies v Atlanta Braves - Game Two / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Orlando Arcia made his first All-Star team with the Atlanta Braves last season. Arcia came to the Braves in 2021 and he brought a 72 OPS+ with him. Even after spending parts of three seasons with the Braves, his career OPS+ is still just 79.

His hot first half last season earned him his first All-Star nod despite missing almost a month due to a microfracture in his wrist. Unfortunately for the Braves and Arcia, he came back down to Earth in the second half.

First half: .294/.345/.425 (111 OPS+)

Second half: .235/.297/.416 (92 OPS+)

There has been a lot of speculation this offseason about whether Orlando Arcia will hold onto his job all year. We were all so excited about him starting the season, it seems pessimistic to say such things now. He made us all feel a lot better about losing Dansby Swanson with his hot start. He had an infectious (in a good way) personality and played solid defense.

To add a little optimism to Orlando Arcia's case, we take a look at all the signs he could be improving his game even more in 2024.

How much better has Orlando Arcia been since joining the Braves?

Arcia's numbers from 2016-2021 with the Brewers:

Slash line:
.244/.293/.364 (542 games) 72 OPS+
Walk rate: 6.6%
Extra-base hit frequency: every 14.69 at-bats
Home run frequency: every 41 at-bats

Arcia's numbers from 2021-2023 with the Braves:

Slash line: .
254/.316/.412 (238 games) 96 OPS+
Walk rate: 7.9%
Extra-base hit frequency: every 11.8 at-bats
Home run frequency: every 27 at-bats

Arcia has been a better hitter overall since he joined the Braves. Last year, Arcia only played in 139 games. He was on a 20-homer pace over 162 games in 2023. He was essentially a 20-homer shortstop last year and has been on an upward trajectory since he joined Atlanta in 2021. Why should it stop now? He's not on the decline and Arcia is still just 29 years old.

Toward the end of May of last year, Braves' hitting coach/wizard Kevin Seitzer pointed out that the Brewers made Arcia an everyday player when he was still very young. When he arrived with the Braves he had some "mechanical issues" in his swing that Seitzer set his sights on. Seitzer is hoping to do the same thing for Jarred Kelenic this year.

There's no question that Arcia has put up his best offensive numbers with the Braves. Over eight seasons, his only year above 100 in OPS+ was 2022. His second-best season was last year. It's probably not a coincidence that he's reaching new heights in Atlanta. He even kicked off the 2023 season with a walk-off hit in the team's home opener.

It seems like a long time ago now, but Arcia was a former top prospect. In 2016, he was rated as the 8th-best prospect by Baseball America and the 6th-best prospect by MLB.com. So, the talent has always been there, he just needed to find the right place to unlock it.

With all that being said, would you really be surprised if Atlanta unlocked a new level out of production out of Arcia again this season? So far, so good for Orlando as a Brave.

More Braves News from House That Hank Built