Brewers prospect Arcia tearing it up at plate
Shortstop looking like total package, with outstanding glove work to match
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- In only a few words, Brewers shortstop prospect Orlando Arcia said more than enough about how well things have been going for him lately.
What does Arcia feel he needs to improve?
Arcia waited a second, then responded in Spanish through teammate and interpreter Jose Sermo, "A little bit of defense."
And this guy's calling card is his slick fielding. But that speaks to the kind of tear Arcia, Milwaukee's No. 4 prospect, according to MLB.com, is on right now at the plate.
Arcia is hitting .378/.404/.689 with two homers, six doubles and 13 RBIs over his last 10 games. He's hit .330 with a .918 OPS over the last month. Overall this year, Arcia is batting .286/.341/.414 with 20 doubles and five triples for Class A Advanced Brevard County.
Oh, and at 19, Arcia is still one of the youngest players in the Florida State League.
Attempting to project a prospect's path through the Minor Leagues can be a dangerous game, especially one as young as Arcia. But to get an idea of his potential, listen to Brewers coach Mike Guerrero, who managed in Milwaukee's Minor League system from 1996-2013.
"That guy can flat-out hit," Guerrero said. "His only thing is, he's 155 [pounds, though he's currently listed at 165]. After seeing all of our guys in Spring Training, I wouldn't be surprised if that guy's an All-Star in the Major Leagues."
"Very mature for his age in everything he does on the field, beginning with his pregame routine, how he goes about his business, how he carries himself," said Brevard County manager Joe Ayrault. "Everything that he does is Major League, in a good way -- his defense, his range, his arm, instincts, how he moves around on the diamond, and his approach at the plate has gotten so much better. ... All around the board, the kid can flat-out play. Very mature for his age."
Arcia missed the entire 2012 season with a broken ankle, hit .251 in his U.S. debut as an 18-year-old in the Midwest League last year and has seemingly taken a big step forward this year. Ayrault said he's caught fire over the past few weeks because he's learned to shrink his strike zone, wait for his pitch and find the gap on a more consistent basis, at which point his plus speed takes over on the basepaths.
Arcia credited his older brother, Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, for helping him adjust to professional baseball. The two brothers speak every day. Oswaldo's advice has been simple: work hard and listen to your coaches. So Arcia has worked hard with the Manatees' coaches, recently focusing on his getting his front foot down earlier so he can sit back and recognize pitches better.
"Working on the same thing every day, not trying to change anything," Arcia said. "I'm not trying to do too much."
Whatever Arcia is doing now seems to be working just fine.
"He can make adjustments. If he makes a mistake, he knows exactly what he did. He's basically learning by his mistakes," Ayrault said. "You don't see him make the same mistakes twice. He learns from it and, bang, he can move on. Very advanced for his age."