Orlando Arcia: “Best Player in Southern League” | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Earlier this afternoon, BaseballAmerica released their Midseason Top 50 prospect list (h/t Brew Crew Ball). As prospect fans were probably already expecting, the list featured some bigtime changes, given that a few favorite prospects from the last few years graduated (take a look at the 2014 Top 10, for instance, for the number of players graduated in 2015, let alone this year’s variation). One of those changes codified the Brewers’ surging minor league year: Biloxi Shuckers shortstop Orlando Arcia landed at #8 overall (!!!). As Brew Crew Ball mentioned, this is a great development for the Brewers, and a rare one: Arcia is the sixth Brewers farmhand to crack the BA Top 10 in the last 25 years.

Even better than the ranking is what they wrote. BaseballAmerica said, “Arcia has hit and everyone loves the glove. He’s the best player in the Southern League as a 20-year-old.” For some context, it is worth noting that the average age in the Southern League is around 25 years old (perhaps just shy of it). So, Arcia’s age truly is a huge factor in judging his performance. For even more context, consider that the difference between his age and the Southern League average is even greater than Kodi Modeiros, Jake Gatewood and Monte Harrison against the A Midwest League. While Arcia’s strike out and walk balance has lagged against older and tougher competition, the youngster is translating those results into aggressive contact and power. Arcia has already matched his triples and homers from 2014, hitting for extra bases 35% more frequently at AA Biloxi (XBH). Furthermore, the prospect is batting the ball into play (BIP) on nearly 80% of plate appearances, and he is smoking hits on those batted balls in play, too. Overall, he has improved his hit rate (H / PA) by nearly 10%. Any way you slice it, Arcia is having the advanced offensive season that many were waiting for, given the strength of his glove.

But what of that “Best Player in the Southern League” claim? To judge this claim, I looked at “regular” players with 250+ PA (arbitrary, I know), and sorted them by age (20-24 to be exact, since a 25-year-old would basically sit at the league’s average age). I know this method harms Cubs farmhand Kyle Schwarber, so let’s marvel at his .320 / .438 / .579 line, driven by 9.9% XBH and 17.3% BB (!!!). Brewers farmhand Yadiel Rivera is also harmed by this measure, given his promotion (as are other promoted players). Rivera is having quite a nice season, too, adding to the Brewers almost absurd middle infield depth. His range at 2B places him among the Top 10 regulars or part-timers in the league, and Rivera added a .322 / .366 / .452 batting line on 78.1% BIP to boot. Sorted this way, we all can judge:

Southern Leaguers Regulars (Age / Position Team) PA AVG / OBP / SLG Other Notes Fielding Note
Orlando Arcia (20 / SS Biloxi) 329 .314 / .355 / .459 79.6% BIP / 9.4% XBH Best combo of Range and FPCT among regular SS
Byron Buxton (21 / CF Chattanooga) 268 .283 / .351 / .489 Southern League PwrSpd Leader 9 center field assists
Jorge Polanco (21 / SS Chattanooga) 300 .301 / .347 / .409 14 / 20 SB Errors and Range could improve at SS
Jesse Winker (21 / LF Pensacola) 301 .270 / .372 / .387 7 / 7 SB 6 outfield assists
Courtney Hawkins (21 / LF Birmingham) 260 .247 / .307 / .417 9.2% XBH 4 left field assists
Tyrone Taylor (21 / CF Biloxi) 293 .262 / .304 / .352 7 / 9 SB Range vs. Regular CF could improve
Albert Almora (21 / CF Tennessee) 258 .249 / .294 / .365 81.7% BIP Strong CF range
Rio Ruiz (21 / 3B Mississippi) 265 .222 / .331 / .284 52 K / 36 BB Solid range among 3B
Max Kepler (22 / 1B Chattanooga) 257 .336 / .412 / .540 12.5% XBH; 12 / 15 SB Speedy profile for 1B
Miguel Sano (22 / 3B Chattanooga) 286 .274 / .374 / .544 15 HR / 38 BB Errors at 3B could improve
Dan Vogelbach (22 / 1B Tennessee) 251 .284 / .410 / .431 7.6% XBH / 17.9% BB (!!!)  
Boog Powell (22 / CF Montgomery) 276 .328 / .408 / .416 11 / 19 SB; 38 K / 29 BB 8 outfield assists
Michael Reed (22 / RF Biloxi) 294 .283 / .378 / .430 13.3% BB%; 23 / 28 SB Second-Most Assists among RF
Patrick Leonard (22 / CI Montgomery) 284 .248 / .331 / .424 10.9% XBH; 23 2B Solid 3B / 1B profile (60% G at 3B)
Tim Anderson (22 / SS Birmingham) 325 .304 / .329 / .411 Southern League SB leader Strong range at SS
Travis Harrison (22 / RF Chattanooga) 294 .251 / .357 / .375 7.8% XBH 3 assists at right field
Socrates Brito (22 / RF Mobile) 306 .269 / .301 / .390 11 / 16 SB 4 right field assists
Tyler Goeddel (22 / LF Montgomery) 292 .255 / .322 / .380 57 K / 25 BB 4 outfield assists
Brandon Drury (22 / 2B Mobile) 298 .278 / .306 / .370 6.2% XBH Excellent 2B range
Adam Walker (23 / LF Montgomery) 307 .270 / .326 / .598 Southern League HR leader 4 left field assists
Willson Contreras (23 / C Tennessee) 268 .326 / .396 / .490 9.7 XBH% / 9.0 BB% 38% CS on 45 attempts
Johnny Field (23 / OF Montgomery) 296 .271 / .337 / .473 11 HR; 8 / 11 SB All three OF positions (55% RF)
Tyler Smith (23 / 2B Jackson) 287 .262 / .370 / .350 13.6 BB%; 8/10 SB Strong 2B range
Kyle Waldrop (23 / RF Pensacola) 259 .277 / .313 / .430 8.5% XBH 6 right field assists
Matt Lipka (23 / LF Mississippi) 256 .277 / .306 / .345 12 / 17 SB 4 outfield assists
Juan Perez (23 / SS Pensacola) 255 .253 / .312 / .354 11 / 16 SB Range could improve for SS
Justin O’Conner (23 / C Montgomery) 252 .222 / .246 / .354 6 HR 41% CS on 34 attempts
D.J. Peterson (23 / 1B Jackson) 315 .218 / .239 / .337 7% XBH  
Jordy Lara (24 / 3B Jackson) 305 .260 / .344 / .387 43 K / 30 BB Errors need to improve at 3B
Danny Hayes (24 / 1B Birmingham) 308 .256 / .371 / .341 61 K / 47 BB  
Kyle Wren (24 / LF Biloxi) 258 .300 / .370 / .326 29 K / 24 BB mix; 20/29 SB Top 5 contender for LF Range
Jody DiMichele (24 / 2B Birmingham) 297 .268 / .323 / .346 9 / 12 SB Excellent 2B range
Rudy Flores (24 / 1B Mobile) 305 .234 / .295 / .360 7 HR  

What does this gigantic table mean? Well, savvy Brewers fans will also spot Michael Reed, Kyle Wren, and Tyrone Taylor, solidifying Reed’s breakout campaign and placing Taylor’s tough year in context (he’s just below the median performance level among regular 21-year old players). As an imperfect method, let’s draw the median OPS from each age group, and compare that to the best OPS at that age group. While Arcia already shines as the only regular 20-year old in AA Southern League (thus far), his performance looks even stronger here:

“Median” Players (age) Median OPS Top OPS
Orlando Arcia (20) .814 .814
Courtney Hawkins (21) .724 .840
Patrick Leonard (22) .755 .952
Tyler Smith (23) .720 .924
Kyle Wren (24) .696 .731

Stated simply, Arcia is not far behind Twins farmhand Byron Buxton, and his combination of OBP and SLG smokes every age group. This is true breakout season that should justifiably shake up the Brewers’ big league plans for their 2016 middle infield.

Share Our Posts

Share this post through social bookmarks.

  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Newsvine
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati