Wins Above Replacement (WAR) might be the best metric we have to quickly gauge overall production. How it is calculated is extremely complex (follow the link for summary) but simply put, it tells us how good a player is. However, you don’t have to know how WAR is calculated to see the trend above. If we recognize the dashed line represents the ‘MLB average’ it is plain to see he has been on both sides of it. His meteoric rise in 2017 seemed to validate his potential. Brewers Fans were thinking they had found their starting shortstop… everyone did.
Then in 2018 Arcia showed up late to camp and was out of shape. It put him in a hole he struggled to get out of all year. However, if we look a bit closer, we see that he did end the year on an upward trend:
With an elephant in the room, BREW MATHs tries to figure out who will show up to camp this year one step at a time…
The best way to start is by creating some overall context:
- Arcia’s wOBA has been below league average since day one. Even in his breakout year it never rose to meet the league average. The in 2018, the bottom dropped out.
- Batted ball stats help us understand what may be at the root of his struggles:
If we focus our attention on the 2017 to 2018 transition, some general trends surface:
- Arcia is hitting to the corners less frequently (more balls are being hit up the middle)
- He is not hitting the ball as hard
- Orlando is hitting the ball into the air less (i.e. a evident with his rising ground ball rate)
- Not shown here, his 2018 HR/FB also went into sharp decline.
While these stats are arbitrary on their own, together they paint a picture. Arcia’s bat was just not as good in 2018:
This not only shows us how his contact fell off but how he cannot hit offspeed pitches at all…
This chart is ‘busy’ but focus on the color coding (green is good, red is not):
- Arcia’s K% rate gets worse with EVERY TYPE of pitch
- His increase in Whiff% rate with BREAKING stuff goes through the roof (5.2% increase!)
- He only gets better in terms of BB% with FASTBALLS
- The proof, as they say, is in the pudding:
His contact outside AND inside the zone gradually decline but his contact outside it does more. While chasing pitches outside the zone at the same rate, Arcia is missing more when he does.
Ultimately, what we learn is not what Brewers Fans want to hear:
- Arcia’s plate discipline took a big step backwards in 2018
- When he hits the ball, it does not lead to runs
- Both his plate production and quality of contact validate this
- Orlando is terrible with offspeed stuff and worse with breaking balls
- He tends to miss a lot of pitches outside the zone… and in an escalating manner.
Any way we look at his power numbers, they follow the same trend. After almost being average in 2018, his slugging percentage drops very sharply. In addition to the dissipating contact and the dwindling plate discipline we can now add declining power to the report.
SPEED / BASERUNNING
Somewhat surprisingly, Arcia has also shown regression here, too.Consider his Statcast ‘sprint speed percent rank’:
2016: 69.9% / 2017: 55.8% / 2018: 47.3%
That said, he is no slouch in terms of speed. We see with his 5 foot running splits that he faster than Harrison Bader, a guy who can move.
It starts to look like many of Arcia’s issues are self-imposed… Whether it is how fast he is running or how focused he is at the plate, the metrics that indirectly measure effort are poor and getting worse.
While Arcia is thought of as a stellar fielder, the statistics do not necessarily support this (Lifetime UZR/150 of -3.5). Moreover, we see the same decline in his fielding as we do above:
Fielding Percentage: 0.981 -> 0.971 -> 0.964
While he can make impressive plays, he does not do so consistently. Again, pointing to a possible lack of sustained focus.
INTERPRETATIONs / CONCLUSIONs
In every section we have looked at Arcia is on the decline. The statistics are pretty clear across the board on this. Arcia CAN perform at a high level, he just doesn’t do it long.
We see Orlando Arcia’s plate production is very frequently above league average… very often by a wide margin. Counterintuitively, the converse is also true… he is normally below league average and sometimes by quite a bit.
Lastly… We would not be doing the man justice without highlighting his stellar postseason production (2018; 34PA):
In the end, many of Arcia’s struggles seem to be of the ‘self-imposed’ variety. Almost as if there is a growing complacency. Since I have never met the man, I will not expand upon that. What I do know is that Arcia will be given a chance to right the ship. How he shows up looking to training camp will be our first big clue…
Categories: Brewer Spotlight