It was just 3 short years ago, well just over that, when I was sitting in my car and listening to the promising debut of what was sure to be a star in the making; young John Paul Arencibia. A man that took the Pacific Coast League (PCL) by storm – at age 24 he hit .301 with 32 HR’s and 85 RBI’s, a sure rarity for a Catcher and that’s what had warranted his call-up. In his debut as you can see in the above video, JP went 4-5 with 2 HR’s and Extra Base hits. In 11 games that season he finished with the same number of HRs (2) and RBIs (5) and hit only .143.
Fast forward a year and JPA, age 25, was able to get a full season under his belt where he caught 129 games with good offensive numbers (.219, 23 HR’s 78 RBI’s). At this stage JP was starting to learn his craft behind the plate working with catching coaches and looking to improve. The Blue Jays naively thought that they may have the Catcher of the future.
His numbers were pretty good in 2012 so there was still hope for the young catcher from the University of Tennessee. The jays soon traded off their other highly touted catching prospect young 23-yr old Travis D’Arnaud in a package deal that eventually resulted in the movement of RA Dickey from the Met’s to the Jays. This deal was done primarily due to the trust placed on the shoulder’s of JP moving forward and the fact that another Catching prospect was now in the wings (AJ Jiminez).
When the Jays landed Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio and more in the off-season leading into 2013 they were slated to be the #1 team in 2013 and have the best chance at winning the World Series as predicted by Las Vegas odds-makers. Boy, were they wrong. Let’s take a look at JP’s stats, and keep in mind he’s not the entire reason the team failed to perform to expectations, however he did play a part in their inability to perform up to snuff.
Offense: 138 GP, .194, 21 HR, 55 RBI, .227 OBP, 497 Plate Appearences, 18 BB’s, 148 K’s
Defense (as a Catcher): 131 GP, 13 Passed Balls, Threw out 25% of runners (21/62)
Let’s compare these numbers to other Catcher’s historically that have played the majority of a season (400+ PA’s). IN MLB HISTORY; JP is one of only 10 players to post a sub-.230 OBP for any positional player with more than 400 AB’s in a season. Add to that the fact that he had a major league high 13 passed balls this season. Further couple those stats with the fact that JP’s .194 average was also the worst batting % for ANY player in the league with more than 400 PA’s. So the Jays knew that it was time to part with JP and decided to non-tender him for a contract as of late last night – this means that Dioner Navarro the 29-yr old Venezuelan Catcher will be the new Starting catcher for the Jays.
In lieu of some of the stats I have been tossing out here is another one; in 1,113 more AB’s than JPA, Dioner has struck out 58 times less. Add to that the fact that Dioner Navarro has only 35 passed balls in his career (650 games, 5375 Innings) which is tied for JP’s 35 passed balls in his career (only 355 Games, 2981 Innings).
I’m glad the Jays have moved on, this is a breath of fresh air! Now Jays fans won’t have to explain to their girlfriends why their beloved JPA is gone; simply direct them to this Blog and they will see why he absolutely had to skip town. Besides, he is already engaged to Kimberly Perry of the Band Perry anyways.
Leave your comments below and/or let me know what I should blog about next! Stay tuned for more exciting Blogs on Toronto fab-5 teams!