May 9, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia (9) celebrates in the dugout after his home run against the Oakland Athletics during the seventh inning at O.co Coliseum. The Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Oakland Athletics 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

Arencibia Enjoying Hot May at the Plate

After a frustrating start to the season, Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia appears to have found his way offensively.

Entering play on April 19, Arencibia boasted an ugly slash line of .063/.118/.156. He managed just a single and a home run in his first eight games of 2012 for a 2-for-32 clip with one walk. But since then, and somewhat lost in the Jays’ offensive struggles lately, has been a resurgence of sorts at the plate from the 26-year-old.

J.P. Arencibia has been hot at the plate recently. (Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE)

Entering tonight’s game with the Yankees, Arencibia’s average sits at .243, 180 points higher than it was almost one month ago to the day, and his current .699 OPS is a staggering 543 points higher than it was over that same span. While the Jays catcher managed to finish off April strong by going 10-for-32 with three doubles, it’s been his 11 games in May where we’ve seen his extra-base power return and his slugging percentage skyrocket.

So far this month, Arencibia is 13-for-39 (.333) and has managed a 1.007 OPS. He has two walks to five strikeouts, and six of his 13 hits have been for extra bases, including three home runs in his last 10 games; noteworthy considering he had a stretch of 18 contests in April without a homer.

In the last 30 days, Arencbia’s .324 average has been a team-high and his .890 OPS over that span has been second to only Edwin Encarnacion. More importantly, though, after striking out 13 times in his first 35 plate appearances, Arencibia has whiffed only 11 times in 76 plate appearances since then.

While the sample size is, of course, still small, the fact that Arencibia is cutting his strikeouts down because of a career-high contact rate is encouraging, and it should be interesting to keep an eye on him in the months to come.

- JM

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