According to Baseball Prospectus, the Brewers have a 0 percent chance of winning the division, and they have a 0 percent chance of clinching one of the two wild card sports. Therefore, they have a 0 percent chance of making the playoffs.
This shouldn’t be all that surprising. While the Brewers aren’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, it would take an unfounded miracle for them to just clinch one of the wildcard spots. And, if you held out any hope that they could, that hope probably evaded after the Brewers traded Jonathan Lucroy, Jeremy Jeffress, and Will Smith at the trade deadline, plus Aaron Hill a little while before that.
If you’ve been watching this season, then you know that the Brewers have played some bad baseball before those trades, and that they will play some bad baseball after these trades. The Brewers are a deeply flawed team, and quite frankly, at the major league level, they are a bad team. But unlike most bad teams, the Brewers have a lot of promise and being hopeful about a brighter future shouldn’t escape the minds of Brewers fans.
The Brewers, for example, aren’t the Angels; a team crippled by long and expensive contracts; or a team with one of the worst farm systems in baseball; a team with one of the worst MLB teams in baseball; a meddling owner; and, a team where the idea of hope resembles the idea of delusion. The Angels have no farm system, they have no youth, all they have is the glorious and beautiful Mike Trout, but even he, the best player of our generation, can’t dig them out of this mess.
The hope for the Brewers is in their farm system, in their player development abilities, and in their front office. The ability to garner quality minor leaguers, develop them into top prospects, and then churn them out for the world to see once they reach the majors.
That hope of a brighter future started taking shape on August 2nd, 2016, when the Brewers called up Orlando Arcia. Arcia is one of the highest touted prospects in all of baseball. Whether you looked at the Top-100 list created by Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America, MLB.com, or wherever, Arcia was on that list, and he was frequently ranked among the top 20 prospects in all of baseball.
The idea isn’t that Arcia will turn the franchise all by himself, nor that Arcia will become the next big superstar in baseball.
There are some things to be concerned about. Mainly, Arcia’s bat. If you’ve read any scouting report on Arcia, you’ll know that he’s a glove first shortstop. He’s already shown glimpses of his prowess at the major league level, but some people have concerns about Arcia’s bat. These concerns aren’t unfounded. Arcia produced a .267/.320/.403 slash line in Triple-A, Colorado Springs, which is a park that is a dream for hitters, but where pitchers go to die.
But, there’s a reason that people should be excited about Arcia. Arcia is the first Brewers prospect to be ranked within the top-50 prospects on a BP list since Alcides Escobar appeared in 2010. He’s also the first Brewers prospect ranked that highly to reach the majors, since Escobar. And, just last year, Arcia had a slash line of .307/.347/.453 in Double-A. If Arcia can find that form again in the majors, then add that to his amazing defensive prowess and speed, the Brewers might be looking at a future super star.
But, the promise that Arcia brings isn’t that of one player. It is that of a better future and a younger and more promising team.
Baseball is not like basketball. One player will not change a franchise. The success of developing and acquiring good young talent cannot be a one-time thing, it needs to be systematic.
Arcia isn’t the end or the middle of the better future, he is just the beginning. Arcia is like that first good gig you get out of University. You still have to go in and put in the work, you don’t know how you will fit in, or how everything will turn out, but you are hopeful that this gig will be one of the bed rocks in the foundations of a good career. The Brewers hope that Arcia is that bed rock. The team doesn’t know how good he will be, they don’t know how he will fit, but they are hopeful that this will be the launching pad to lasting and longing success.
The Brewers have been trying to rebuild their system since the beginning of last season: Trading away veteran players for younger assets, drafting better, acquiring low risk assets, and changing the front office to fit this new direction. The Brewers hope that these players reach the majors and produce at the big league level. Arcia is the first big talent that we will see, but he is definitely not the last.