His numbers won’t jump off the page at you, but J.P Arencibia is a young catcher who will likely play a monumental role in the Blue Jays future. Just 25, J.P.A already swings a legitimate, bordering on plus bat at a premium position. He will likely never hit for average or on base percentage, but should slug well above the league average.
Arencibia’s minor league career was a roller coaster ride. Plagued by injury and vision issues, the former 21st overall pick in the 2007 draft took some time to translate his potential into professional results.
In his first full professional season in 2008 (Hi-A and AA) J. P posted a 298/322/527 with 27 home runs. The next year in AAA was a very different story. Suffering from kidney and vision problems, Arencibia hit 236/284/444 with 21 jacks.
Fortunately for Blue Jay fans, J.P.A bounced back in 2010 with an outstanding, MVP season. Repeating AAA with the 51’s, Arencibia was the best player in the Pacific Coast League batting 301/359/626 with 32 homers in just 412 at bats. The year culminated with a cup of coffee in Toronto, where Arencibia made a splash with 2 home runs and 4 hits in his first MLB game.
So far in 2011, J.P has been impressive with the big club. While the average (249) and OBP (308) have been mediocre, the big fly’s (9), and RBI’s (30) have been very nice. Arencibia also sports a respectable 231 ISO, and a wOBA of .341.
Catchers often take longer than other position players to develop because of the specific demands of the position. It is a tough position for teams to fill, and that is why drafting and developing above average back catchers is so important. As it stands today J.P Ricciardi’s decision to select J.P Arencibia in the first round of the 2007 draft was excellent, and it appears like it will pay dividends for Jays fans for years to come.
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