Arcia brings heart, flash to first big league camp

Brewers' top prospect has already impressed team

Arcia brings heart, flash to first big league camp

PHOENIX -- There's no bigger fan of top Brewers prospect Orlando Arcia than the man who managed him last season at Double-A Biloxi, and Carlos Subero did not ponder long before excitedly recounting his favorite Arcia play.

It was in Venezuela's winter league on Halloween night, 2014. In the top of the ninth inning, with two outs, two runners on base, the tying run at the plate and Arcia's Caribes de Anzoategui trying to hold on for a win, the batter hit a bouncer up the middle. Arcia, the shortstop, crossed behind second base to field the baseball and spun as if he was going to throw to first base. But Arcia fired instead to third, where the runner -- who'd begun the play at second base -- had strayed too far around the bag. Arcia had somehow sensed it.

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Game over.

"He still doesn't know how good he's going to be," Subero said Wednesday at Maryvale Baseball Park after Arcia reported for his first big league camp. "He still does a lot of stuff on instincts."

Those instincts are inching closer to the Major Leagues.

According to every prospect list, including MLBPipeline.com's, Arcia is Milwaukee's most promising Minor Leaguer. He was rated the sixth-best prospect in baseball after a breakthrough campaign at Biloxi, where Arcia batted .307 and posted an .800 OPS while playing his flashy brand of shortstop. General manager David Stearns has said Arcia will begin the 2016 season at Triple-A Colorado Springs, but Stearns cleared Arcia's eventual ascension to the Major Leagues when he traded incumbent shortstop Jean Segura to Arizona.

Jonathan Villar will cover the position until the Brewers decide it's Arcia's turn.

"He loves the game. That's what stands out from the back fields in Spring Training," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He plays the game with his heart, you know?"

Arcia plays the game with flash. At last year's All-Star Futures Game, he made the highlight reel with another up-the-middle play, this time spinning and throwing to first base for an out. He finished the play in center field.

"Get used to that spin move," Subero said. "That's his signature, and he can do it with the best."

Statcast: Arcia's spinning throw

Counsell isn't worried about top prospect status weighing down Arcia.

"He's used to it, one, and his personality and his style of play almost welcomes it," Counsell said. "And that's a compliment. I think he welcomes the spotlight. He enjoys the competition.

"It's not all talent that gets you to the top of those lists. His personality and his makeup, that gets you on that list, too. That enhances his tools, I think."

Arcia also has pedigree on his side. His big brother, Oswaldo, is a power-hitting outfielder for the Twins, and the two talk often during the baseball season. Oswaldo's best piece of advice, according to Orlando, who spoke to reporters Wednesday with Brewers pitcher Hiram Burgos translating, is "keep working hard so the bosses in the organization see that."

"I don't feel pressure or put pressure on myself because I'm No. 1," Arcia said of the prospect lists. "I just want to go out there and be the same baseball player I have been."

Top Prospects: Arcia, MIL

Counsell said he had already met with each player who is in his first Major League camp. Besides Arcia, the top prospects in that category include center fielder Brett Phillips (No. 2 on MLB.com's current list of top Brewers prospects, which is scheduled for an update next week), pitchers Jorge Lopez (No. 8) and Josh Hader (No. 14), catcher Jacob Nottingham (No. 15) and outfielder Michael Reed (No. 18).

"Your first big league camp is a transition," Counsell said. "Especially if you haven't had time in the Major Leagues, it's a window into the Major Leagues. It's a window into that level of preparation, and the consistency of preparation, that is required. It's exposure to something new. Those are all steps that players take."

Arcia will work closely this spring with Subero, who earned an offseason promotion to Milwaukee's Major League coaching staff. But there won't be a particular teammate he shadows this spring.

"It will be everyone," Arcia said. "I feel comfortable with everyone."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.