Blog Entry

Arencibia poised to win Jays' catcher job

Posted on: January 8, 2011 12:53 pm

ArencibiaJ.P. Arencibia burst on the scene in August, bashing two home runs in his major-league debut and offering Toronto fans hope they had found their long-term catcher.

However, the glory would be short-lived as Arencibia rarely played after the debut game, returning to Triple-A before heading back to Toronto in September. Overall, he appeared in just 11 games with a .143/.189/.343 line, highlighted by an 0-for-17 skid to end the year.

“When you play sporadically like that it’s a battle,” Arencibia told the Globe and Mail

Playing time won't be an issue in 2011, thanks to Toronto avoiding any frontline catcher acquisitions. Arencibia has a clear path to the starting job, although he will have to officially win it in spring training away from backup Jose Molina.

“I know the kind of player I am, I know what I bring to the table, the Blue Jays know what I bring to the table,” Arencibia said.

What the 2007 first-round pick brings to the table is power. He hammered 32 home runs in Triple-A in 459 PA with a .301/.359/.626 mark along with 36 doubles. One doesn't see that kind of power in a catcher often, but Arencibia could be one of a rare breed if he manages to stick behind the dish. First base or DH could be in his future, especially with Travis D'Arnaud down on the farm and inching closer to the bigs. 

Arencibia's bat should survive any transition, but that's for the future. Right now, D'Arnaud is not ready for the majors and Arencibia has a catcher's job there for the taking.

“Really I’m not worried about the outside stuff,” he added. “If I take care of my business then, whatever they decide, that’s their decision.”

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB

Since: May 8, 2007
Posted on: January 9, 2011 5:03 pm

Arencibia poised to win Jays' catcher job

I'm so thankful that Anthopoulos didn't make a move for a catcher this offseason. I know it's a little unnerving to go into the season with a rookie as the starting catcher, but the kid is ready for the Show. His stats don't lie, and though they worry about his game-calling, he's got a great mentor in Jose Molina, and some other wise voices like Bruce Walton and John Farrell to guide him. If the Jays are going to be serious about developing from within, they have to give the kids a chance sometime. I think Romero, Cecil, and Morrow will be fine with the kid and Molina, and we'll see who fills out the rotation. 
If I'm predicting the Jays lineup for next season properly it'll look something like this:
1- Rajai Davis- RF2- Yunel Escobar- SS3- Jose Bautista- 3B4- Vernon Wells- CF5- Adam Lind- 1B6- Aaron Hill- 2nd7- Travis Snider- LF8- Edwin Encarnacion- DH9- JP Arencibia- C
Getting to start your career as an afterthought in the offence takes the pressure off of him there, and allows him to focus on his job as the handler of the talented young staff. My guess is he'll hit better when he focuses on his defence, because he's demonstrated his offensive abilities, and just needs to do his thing. 
I could be just bored and excited for the upcoming season, but I'm looking forward to watching this group and seeing what they can do. Lots of questions unanswered, but I'm glad to see that the catcher position is working out just as I had hoped. Great job AA!

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