Arencibia is Awesome

Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters Pictures

How awesome is J.P. Arencibia? Pretty damn awesome.

Arencibia displayed his rookie power prowess with another mammoth home run in last night’s game, not to mention his grand slam on Sunday against the Orioles.

Needless to say, as is evident from this tweet, I’m not ashamed to admit J.P. Arencibia is the newest Blue Jays player to capture my full and undivided attention:


If he were to play the typical male lead reserved for RomCom veterans like Matthew McConaughey or Ryan Reynolds, I would be helpless.

True story: ever since Vernon Wells was traded, Mrs. BJH to-be has been looking for a new favourite Blue Jay. I suggested J.P. Arencibia because not only is he likely to be in a Blue Jays uniform for a long time, but so she could also have a new player to add to her baseball hall pass list.

Mancrushes and regular crushes aside, J.P. Arencibia really has exceeded expectations this year. After what happened last September, some red flags were raised as to the validity of the Blue Jays catcher in the waiting.

It appears J.P. Arencibia has put that 0 for 15 September from last season in the rear view mirror and is slugging his way towards becoming the top rookie in the American League.

John Farrell has experimented with moving J.P. Arencibia up in the lineup, and I think hitting him in the five slot is the best course of action at this point. Opting to have Arencibia bat fifth helps create a solid one through five in the lineup.

And Arencibia has not only been impressive offensively, but defensively as well. John Farrell has handed all five starters over to Arencibia now, and he’s doing a great job at managing the idiosyncrasies of each starting pitcher.

Not only that, but JPA’s arm is among some of the best in the league and his persistence of using snap throws down to first base keeps the opposition on their toes and helps stifle the running game.

I’ll admit I was a weary that J.P. Arencibia might have a tough time with major league hitting, but now that he’s the full-time catcher for the Blue Jays, he is blossoming into the role and becoming one of the best young catchers in the game.

Not too shabby for a guy who was John Buck’s 20 home run milestone cheerleader last season. Oh, and Arencibia is already half way to Buck’s record for home runs by a Blue Jays catcher, too.


Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

14 thoughts on “Arencibia is Awesome

  • June 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I too am pleasantly surprised at JP's game. I thought for sure he would be a free swinger with a paltry OBP and many strikeouts. On the contrary he seems to be one of our most patient hitters. And that power! Swoon.

  • June 8, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    j.p. is a great example of how to appropriately handle a minor league star. some would have said he should have come up two years ago – but the jays were patient and waited, and now look at him. compare that to travis snider who has been badly mishandled and now may never reach his full potential.

  • June 8, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    The big question is what to do with Travis d'Arnaud and Arencibia. JP has been – in my opinion – strong with the bat AND behind the plate. If he can handle Morrow (who appears to be a bit of a headcase and needs a solid catcher to pitch to), why pull him from behind the plate. But then where does d'Arnaud go to?

  • June 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    The most impressive aspect of Arencibia has been his improvement behind the dish, this in large part I credit to Dan Wakamatsu. last season as a backup Arrencibia looked like the jays should consider switching to first because he could not properly manage pitchers. However this season his game management skills have improved as has his defence while looking like an Offensive stud. However, if he is going to continue to be a fulltime catcher he needs to continue to develop, if you guys watched most of that game you saw that the two announcers with catching experience, buck and other were stating that he did a good job blocking the plate on some of Drabek's wild pitches but at other times was going back to his old mentality of trying to glove a curve ball in the dirt, mean while when he did this the ball bounced away.

  • June 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Darrell, I've definitely been very impressed with his ability to draw the walk. Fourth most on the club behind Bautista, Esobar and Rivera. Swoon, indeed!

    Julie, I was afraid what happened last September might have stunted Arencibia's development. The old management's regime wasn't very conducive to a young player. But all that seems not to have phased JPA at all, thankfully!

    Chris, that's a good problem for the Blue Jays to have. Maybe J.P. can eventually be a Mike Napoli type player who can play both first base and catcher.

    Psmith, I really like Arencibia's development behind the plate. Like you said, credit Wakamatsu for that one. He really didn't need much work in the way of offensive work, but behind the plate J.P. has made leaps and bounds.

  • June 8, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Between Arencibia, d'Arnaud, Cooper, Thames, Loewen and Snider the Jays could soon have too many bats for just three positions (C, DH, LF or C, 1B, LF if Lind moves to DH). Unfortunately, since the catchers bat righty and everyone else is a lefty, DH is the only platoon opportunity. If all these guys continue to hit (well, and Snider starts to hit), something's gotta give. d'Arnaud and Snider could probably get the most in a trade, but on the other hand you don't want to trade the guys who might end up being the best players. Not sure what I'd do here.

  • June 8, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Xave, if all these prospects some to fruition (which would be a best case scenario), with only so many positions and so many players, I would think some trades would be necessary.

    That's the tough thing: which guys do you keep, and which do you send off? Because there's nothing worse than trading a player only to see them go on to turn into huge stars.

    Fortunately, I can't remember an instance like that in recent memory, so looks like AA has done a decent job at managing the trades so far.

  • June 8, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    As much as everyone was losing their shit last season about Buck playing, and JPA not playing, it seems the patience the Jays employed is paying off.

    There's just nothing quite like a young, promising catcher. When was the last time the Jays had one?

  • June 8, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Nav, at the time I didn't see the forest through the trees – I just wanted JPA to get as many at bats and as much time behind the plate as possible. But you know what, maybe he's a better player now because of that.

    And honestly, I think the Blue Jays haven't had a young promising catcher since the days of Pat Borders. Maybe Curtis Thigpen for a very short period, but that's about it.

  • June 9, 2011 at 12:40 am

    For ahwile, the Jays had the habit of converting all their promising catching prospects to other positions (Ed Sprague, Carlos Delgado, Josh Phelps). Subsequent catching prospects simply fizzled out: Kevin Cash, Guilermo Quiroz and the the future Jose Bautista himself, Robinzon Diaz.

  • June 9, 2011 at 1:27 am

    Who cares you're a fucking loser.

  • June 9, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    King_Cats, not until yesterday did I realize the Blue Jays had so many catching prospects converted into other positions. I had no idea Jayson Werth and Eric Hinske were catchers at one point as well.

  • October 1, 2011 at 2:58 am

    D'Arnaud is the better defensive player, and being such a big part of the Hallyday trade they'll play him. I think Arencibia is going to end up at first base. D'Arnaud behind the plate and JP at first in 2012 would accelerate things in prep. for 2013. They should be able to flip Lind for some help in the bullpen.

  • October 1, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Ger, you raise an interesting point – people have asked what happens with J.P. once d'Arnaud is ready. I think it's a good problem to have with two elite catchers.

    Like you said, J.P. could move to first base, or maybe AA could see what Arencibia could fetch with a trade.

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