J.P. Arencibia arrived in Toronto with high expectations. Selected 21st overall in the 2007 draft, he was projected as the Blue Jays' future long-term catcher.
The expectations only grow, following Arencibia's stunning Major League debut in August 2010. He hit a home run on his first ever pitch, went on to record another blast and finished with four overall hits.
The next season saw the Miami, Florida native take over as the starting catcher on opening day. He would finish the year with encouraging totals of 23 homers, 78 RBI, 36 walks and 47 runs.
Little did Arencibia know at the time, but these would all represent career highs. There were still some signs though that he might struggle in the long run, as per a .219 batting average and leading the Majors with 12 passed balls.
The 2012 campaign would be a frustrating one for University of Tennessee alumni. While he saw some improvement in his contact with the ball, his season was compromised by injury.
The following season was when it all really started to fall apart for Arencibia, as he became a regular target for criticism from media and fans alike. In particular, he got into a contentious public feud with Sportsnet's media personalities Gregg Zaun and Dirk Hayhurst.
There was no denying the 2006 USA Baseball Richard W. "Dick" Case Player of the Year was struggling at the plate, as evidenced by a horrific .592 OPS. However, it did seem to a certain extent he was being made a scapegoat for the team's overall struggles, in a year which had begun with high expectations.
This was something Arencibia discussed the next year, after he had left the Blue Jays and signed with the Rangers. As per Bill Baer of NBC Sports, he said:
"I think the media made me out to be a monster — I wasn’t. They changed a lot of things that I said or made up stories. So I thought that that was a big thing that went down. I learned how much media does control things."