Top prospect Arcia set to join Brewers

Top prospect Arcia set to join Brewers

SAN DIEGO -- The Brewers parted with some productive pieces of their past on Monday but were poised to welcome what they hope is an integral part of the future.

Top prospect Orlando Arcia was on his way from Triple-A Colorado Springs and will be the starting shortstop beginning Tuesday night against the Padres, manager Craig Counsell confirmed after the Brewers' 7-3 loss. The incumbent shortstop, Jonathan Villar, will move to third.

"The thinking is it's time to get him started," Counsell said of Arcia, who turns 22 on Thursday and is No. 13 on's list of the top 100 prospects in baseball. "We've still got [58] games left, a good chunk of the season left, where we're hopeful that it gives him good experience going into next year. I think it's a little shot in the arm for us, a little boost for us, as well."

That boost will be welcomed after the Brewers traded away their All-Star catcher (Jonathan Lucroy) and two of their top three relievers (closer Jeremy Jeffress and setup man Will Smith) in a pair of Trade Deadline deals earlier Monday.

Arcia's solo homer

Arcia's older brother, Rays outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, actually broke the news earlier Monday via Instagram, when he posted a message in Spanish welcoming kid brother to the big leagues.

Long regarded for his sensational defensive skills, Orlando Arcia jumped to the top of every Brewers prospect list with an offensive breakthrough in the Double-A Southern League in 2015, when he posted his best OPS (.827) since rookie ball in 2011. He has regressed somewhat at Triple-A Colorado Springs this season, posting a .268/.320/.404 slash line in 439 plate appearances as a young player for his level, but remained a force in the field, according to the daily reports landing on Counsell's desk.

"The reports were he was absolutely outstanding defensively," Counsell said. "He didn't have the season he had last year, but we feel like he's ready to handle big league pitching."

Villar, who has played so well in his first season in Milwaukee that he was considered a candidate for the National League All-Star team, expressed some disappointment when Counsell delivered the news.

"He was disappointed, and I understand that. I'm perfectly good with that," Counsell said. "But Orlando is a shortstop, and a really good shortstop. I think this improves us. … I don't know if third base is going to be [Villar's] permanent position, but on this team, it's where we need him to play."

Said Villar with a shrug: "I know the guy is pretty good."

The promotion also impacts Hernan Perez, who was so productive while logging starts at both third base and right field that the Brewers named him their July player of the month. Perez will still play, Counsell promised, because of his versatility. 

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
The Brewers' top prospect per MLB Pipeline, the 21-year-old Arcia should be added in all fantasy leagues immediately. The speedy shortstop owns a lifetime .282 average in the Minors and could be a boon for owners in need of stolen bases and, to a lesser extent, runs and batting-average points. Current MLB steals leader Jonathan Villar, being pushed from shortstop to third base to accommodate Arcia's callup, should continue to play every day and contribute a great deal in all formats.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for 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.