NEW YORK -- Maybe, in order for Orlando Arcia to become an established threat in the batter's box at the Major League level, he simply has to hone one of the stronger aspects of his makeup as a hitter: hitting to the opposite field.
Despite the 23-year-old's sluggish .244 batting average in 2017, Arcia has heated up over the last week or so. Arcia is batting .371 (13-for-35) with six runs scored over his current nine-game hit streak. That is, in no small part -- at least in Brewers manager Craig Counsell's mind -- thanks to his young shortstop's renewed affinity in driving the ball the other way.
"It's his strength for sure," Counsell said before Monday's 4-2 loss to the Mets. "I think it's a great foundation for a hitter to have."
In Sunday's win over the D-backs, Arcia hit two singles to the opposite field. The day before, the right-handed hitter smacked a single to the right side of second base, and on Thursday, he lined a double into the right-center-field gap. Additionally, all four of his home runs this season have gone out to right field. On balls hit to right field this season, Arcia is batting .355 with a .742 slugging percentage, compared to .267 and .284 averages on balls pulled or hit up the middle, respectively.
Counsell said even though Arcia's been the victim of some bad luck at the plate recently, he is encouraged by the consistent contact, including on balls that did not land for hits.
"He's had a good stretch right now," Counsell said. "I think you've seen a lot of balls to right field. I think he's changed a lot since the season started. I think it's pretty visually easy, at the plate, to see. He's still making adjustments and still getting used to the pitching and finding out what he needs to be consistently successful. But he certainly had a good homestand, which was good to see."
Arcia transferred that success from Miller Park to Citi Field on Monday, when he slashed a base knock through the right side to contribute to the Brewers' fifth-inning rally.
Pitch recognition, especially those on the outer part of the plate he can take the other way, is something Arcia is also improving on in his manager's mind. It's a skill that comes with maturity, Counsell says.
"The key for that is picking out pitches that he can do it with, and swinging at the pitches you can drive over there and hit hard over there." Counsell said.
Chris Bumbaca is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.