J.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