Top prospect Arcia dabbling at second base

Brewers giving shortstop experience playing another position

Top prospect Arcia dabbling at second base

LOS ANGELES -- In a departure for one of baseball's best young defensive shortstops, top Brewers prospect Orlando Arcia manned second base on Saturday at Triple-A Colorado Springs for a third straight game.

His starts at second are an intriguing development against the backdrop of Jonathan Villar's superb performance at shortstop for the Major League club. But there is no positional switch in the works, GM David Stearns said.

"It's a product of a development philosophy where we want all of our prospects to have the ability to play multiple positions," Stearns wrote in an email. "We still consider Arcia a shortstop first, but developing positional versatility is important for all players."

Before his current three-game run at second base, Arcia had played all but one game at shortstop. He also manned second base on June 7.

Why now?

"We have checkpoints throughout the year where we review playing time and usage throughout the system," Stearns said. "As we got into June, we reviewed positional playing time and reemphasized the need to move guys around."

Arcia, 21, is rated baseball's fourth-best prospect by MLBPipeline.com, and has long been regarded as one of the finest defensive shortstops in the Minor Leagues. His bat has caught up in recent seasons, and Arcia entered Saturday hitting .290/.333/.403 with four home runs and nine stolen bases in 61 games.

The Brewers cleared Arcia's path to Miller Park by trading starting shortstop Jean Segura to Arizona in January. Villar, acquired from Houston in an earlier trade, was regarded by many as a stopgap while Arcia logged his first Triple-A at-bats, but Villar has been one of baseball's most productive shortstops, ranking second among National League regulars at the position with a .300 batting average and third with a weighted runs created plus of 121 -- meaning he has been 21 percent better than average at the position.

Among NL shortstops, only the Cardinals' Aledmys Diaz and the Dodgers' Corey Seager top Villar in wRC+, which is considered one of the truest measures of offensive performance.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. 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.