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Orlando Arcia - 2019 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper

Orlando Arcia was pegged by numerous fantasy baseball experts a year ago as a sleeper for the 2018 season. After polishing off his first full year in the majors in 2017 where he batted .277 with 15 home runs, 56 R, 53 RBI, and 14 stolen bases, Arcia took a significant step backward in 2018.

The Milwaukee Brewers shortstop struggled mightily and was optioned down twice during the season to Triple-A. Finishing the year with an anemic .236/3/32/30/7 line, he burned the experts that believed in him as a 2018 breakout performer.

Lost in his end numbers was an inspiring second half as well as undeveloped minor league skills, which has given Arcia a second chance as a fantasy sleeper. Let's see why he might be a great value given his depressed ADP ahead of the 2019 season.

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Second-Half Resurgence

It would be unreasonable to call Arcia’s first half of 2018 anything other than a disaster. After a brief Triple-A stint in May, Arcia was sent back down on July 1 with only three SB and a ghastly .197/.231/.251 slash line. Most of Arcia’s fantasy value was expected to come in the AVG and SB categories, so these numbers weren’t anything short of disappointing. It was in Colorado Springs, however, where he began to turn around his lost year as he batted .357 in the minors and the Brewers recalled him on July 26.

Arcia came back to the bigs in the second half nearly doubling his LD% from 13.9% to 25.9%, resulting in a much more respectable .290/.320/.386 line. Although we would have liked to have seen more than four SB on six attempts to go along with the improved stroke, it was still very encouraging to see. Arcia kept his strong regular season going into the postseason where he got a hit in all nine games he started, chipping in with three big flys, equaling his regular season total. It’s redundant to state that postseason stats are irrelevant for fantasy purposes, but it is still reassuring nonetheless.


Minor League Skills

Drawing a free pass was also something Arcia struggled to do last season. His 0.17 BB/K would have put him among the league worst, but his 0.27 BB/K in September was encouraging as it plays a lot closer to the 0.42 career mark across his entire Triple-A career. His minor league fly ball rates are yet to translate to the majors as well. He has a major league career 1.93 GB/FB, and his 2.18 mark in 2018 would have been the highest mark among qualified shortstops, not a good recipe for power numbers. It’s safe to say we’ve seen the bottom floor of his fly ball inability and a number closer to the 1.45 career mark he posted in Triple-A should be expected moving forward.

Arcia is still waiting to truly develop at the big league level. Even with the satisfying stat line he put up in 2017; there’s still more to be had if he can regain his fly ball and walk numbers from his minor league days. Playing in hitter-friendly Miller Park will help out his power, but a return to 15 HR might be a bit optimistic as we’re yet to see the minor league peripherals translate. A rebound in the SB column seems imminent with the fact that the Brew Crew have finished every season since 2015 in the top three in stolen base attempts per game. If Arcia keeps up the second half stroke, he’ll also see more opportunities on the bases, therefore more opportunities to steal.

With a current ADP of 339, Arcia costs next to nothing. He’s a terrific bargain in the last couple rounds, as he has proven the 15/15 skill set with upside for more SB to go along with a decent batting average. If everything starts coming together for the 24-year old, he’ll get you numbers comparable to Andrelton Simmons, a player going 120 picks ahead of him.

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