Sunday, July 24, 2011

#3: C J.P. Arencibia

Name: Jonathan Paul Arencibia
Position: Catcher
Acquired: 1st round (2007)
Opening Day age: 25
Height/weight: 6'1", 210 lbs
Best/worst tool: Power/speed

Scouting Report:

Entering 2011, JP Arencibia was one of the best offensive catching prospects in the minor leagues. His power is outstanding for any player, and that power in a catching prospect is even more special. His other tools are average to below average, with his catcher's legs making him a poor base runner. His fielding and arm were well below average early in his career, but he has improved them enough that they could be considered fringy average to below average. His hit tool is a substantial question mark, as it is difficult for a player to reach his power ceiling when he's unable to make consistent contact. He definitely has 30+ HR power, but he likely has to improve his rate stats to reach the expected counting stats.

2010 Stats: .301/.359/.626 (.986 OPS), 36 2B, 32 HR, 85 RBI, 38/85 BB/K

2010 Analysis:

Arencibia was coming off a very poor 2009 season in his first go-around with Triple-A Las Vegas. He complained of having difficulties seeing the seams of the ball at night, which led to laser-eye surgery in the offseason. The changes were dramatic, as his batting average increased from .236 to .301 but, more importantly, he walked 38 times in 104 games. A drastic improvement upon his 26 walks in 116 games. He earned a September callup with the Blue Jays, but due to the short sightedness of then-manager Cito Gaston, he saw only 35 at-bats in the last 5 weeks of the season.

2011 Stats: .222/.284/.457 (.742 OPS), 12 2B, 17 HR, 49 RBI, 23/89 BB/K

2011 Analysis:

With John Buck in Florida, Arencibia was handed the reigns as the Blue Jays starting catcher in 2011. His power came as advertised, with 32 extra base hits in 82 games thus far, led by his near 30 home run pace. He has struggled to make consistent contact, with his batting average plumetting near the Mendoza Line in early July and his strikeout rate nearing 28%. His 7.2% walk rate is acceptable, especially for a rookie catcher.

Future outlook:

Arencibia is done with the minor leagues, so his focus going forward needs to be improving his contact rate and approach at the plate. Toronto has a much more well rounded catcher in Travis d'Arnaud chomping at the bit in Double-A, and will be big league ready by late 2012. Arencibia has until that time to prove he has what it takes to be a core member of the Toronto Blue Jays moving forward, else he could find himself on the trade block. A 2012 triple slash line of .250/.300/.500 likely saves his job temporarily. Anything below that, and he likely finds himself in a platoon or on another squad in 2013.

Perfect world projection: 1st division MLB starting catcher with multiple All Star appearances and Silver Slugger awards if he improves his approach at the plate.

Worst case scenario: 2nd division MLB starting catcher.

Most likely outcome: Fringe 1st/2nd division MLB starting catcher, possible All Star appearances and Silver Slugger awards in prime.

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