2011 Fantasy Baseball Profile: Can You Trust J.P. Arencibia as Your Fantasy Catcher?

Mar 8, 2011

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J.P. Arencibia’s potential breakout season was almost jeopardized before the season started when the Blue Jays traded for Mike Napoli. Fortunately for the young slugger, Napoli was subsequently shipped off to Texas, restoring Arencibia’s fantasy value.
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Arencibia failed to wow in his cup of coffee with the Jays last year. He hit just .143 (5 for 35) with three runs, a double, two home runs, and four RBI. He walked twice and struck out an alarming 11 times. With an on-base percentage, let alone average, below the Mendoza Line, I don’t blame you if you can’t bring yourself to trust the rookie in 2010. Just remember that you may be shying away from a good source of power.
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Arencibia has a long history of the long ball. In his three seasons at the University of Tennessee, Arencibia hit 33 HRs in 690 at bats. He had an OPS of .913 in his first year with the Vols, a 1.002 OPS in his second year, and a .995 OPS in his final year. He struggled a touch in his first taste of professional baseball, hitting .254 with a .686 OPS for Single-A- Auburn Doubledays. He then hit .315 with a .904 OPS for Single-A+ Dunedin and .282 with a .798 OPS for Double-A New Hampshire. He struggled once again when he made the jump to Triple-A hitting .236 with a .728 for the Las Vegas 51s. He came back the following year and hit .301 with 76 runs, 32 HRs, 85 RBI, and a .985 OPS.
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Last year’s struggles at the Major League level shouldn’t have been unexpected. He improved in his second and third years at Tennessee. He improved the next year after debuting in the Minors. He improved the following year after struggling with Triple-A pitching. He has shown that once he gets a taste for it, he knows what to work on to improve.
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Does that mean he’s going to suddenly hit .280 with 20 HRs? Probably not, but I do expect Arencibia to be much more comfortable at the plate next year. He has the power, and he is hitting in the right ballpark. Rogers Centre had the fourth highest home run ball park factor (1.358) in the league last year. The number was bloated, in part, because of Jose Bautista’s 33 home HRs, but it has been a top ten home run park for the better part of the past decade. The Jays aren’t afraid to swing for the fences. They have ranked first and fifth, respectively, the past two seasons in HRs.
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You don’t even necessarily have to draft J.P. His ADP, according to Mock Draft Central, is 311. Just keep an eye on him. If he starts off swinging the bat well, it would make a lot of sense to give him a shot.
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