One of the most important keys to building a successful team is to have a core of reliable players. It helps even more if those players have been a part of a team’s farm system. At 24 years old, Orlando Arica has been with the Brewers’ organization of a third of his life. He was first signed as an amateur free agent when he was 16 years old. In this edition of Brewers Past and Present, we spotlight the career of Orlando Arcia, the Brewers’ sure-handed shortstop.
Arcia’s Minor League Career
Orlando Arcia first played for a Brewers affiliate at the age of 16 when he participated in the Dominican Winter League in 2011. In 64 games that season, Arcia hit a respectable .294/.386/.459 with six home runs and 36 RBI. In 2013, Arica played his first season of professional ball in America with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. He hit .251/.314/.333 with four home runs and 39 RBI. In addition, he racked up five triples and 20 stolen bases.
Arcia moved his way up the system, arriving in AA Biloxi in 2015. That year, he had his best professional season to date. During that campaign, Arica hit .307/.347/.453 with eight home runs and 69 RBI. In addition, Arica totaled seven triples and 25 stolen bases. What has defined Arcia more, though, throughout his career has been his defense. While in AA, Arcia posted a .978 fielding percentage, committing 13 errors in 123 games. 2016 would see Arica in Milwaukee.
Arcia’s Career in Milwaukee
Orlando Arcia first appeared with the Brewers in 2016. He played 55 games that season, hitting just .219/273/.358. He did, however, post a .981 fielding percentage, showed tremendous range in the field, and committed just five errors. Knowing his bat needed to improve in order to stick with the club, Arica continued to pay in the Arizona Fall League and Dominican Winter League following the 2016 season.
The hard work paid off. In 2017, Arcia hit .277/.324/.407 with 15 home runs and 53 RBI. His batting average fell to .236 in 2018, and then to .223 last year. However, he has maintained a high level of play in the field on defense. Admittedly, he seemed to struggle with defense at some points during the 2019 season, but did post a .976 fielding percentage, the best in his career at the Major League level.
In 2018, the Brewers won the National League Central Division. In these playoffs, Arcia drastically improved his game at the plate. In the Division Series win against the Rockies, Arcia hit .250/.250/.625 with a home run. He was even better in the NLCS loss to the Dodgers. In that series, Arcia hit .360/.385/.600 with two home runs and three RBI.
Orlando Arcia has grown up with the Brewers organization. He has showed a tremendous work ethic and desire to improve his game. Despite a couple of seasons of sub-par hitting, he has what it takes to do well on the Major League level. It is his hard work and determination that have made him so endearing to Milwaukee baseball fans.
More Brewers Past and Present
- Jeff Cirillo
- Cecil Cooper
- Paul Molitor
- Justin Smoak
- Ben Sheets
- Bob Uecker
- Keston Hiura
- Josh Hader
- Ted Simmons
- Gorman Thomas
- Pete Vuckovich
- Rollie Fingers
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