Rotoprofessor’s Prospect Watch – J.P. Arencibia
Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor
In his first full season as a professional, the Toronto Blue Jays 2007 First Round selection, J.P. Arencibia, quickly thrust his name among the top catching prospects in all of baseball. Out of the University of Tennessee, Arencibia played for both Single & Double A, hitting a total of .298 with 27 HR, 105 RBI and 70 R. Those are extremely impressive numbers, but we have to look at a few other things before we declare him an obvious sleeper for 2009.
First is the strikeouts:
- Single A: 46 K in 248 AB
- Double A: 55 K in 262 AB
Overall, that means he struck out 19.8% of the time. Is that an awful number? No, not really, but I wouldn’t consider it a good one either. Luckily, it wasn’t like he struck out an increased amount as he moved up to Double A, so things certainly could have been worse.
Still, the only catcher who would have qualified for a batting title with a greater percentage was Geovanny Soto, who struck out 24.5% of the time. Others, like Russell Martin (15.0%), Brian McCann (12.6%) and Joe Mauer (9.3%), were significantly better.
To further show how he may have problems with his batters eye, over his 510 AB, he walked just 18 times. That, honestly, is a terrible number, and one major league pitching could easily exploit if given the opportunity. Yeah, he’s been able to get away with it at the lower levels, but if he doesn’t force pitcher’s to throw him strikes, he has little chance to hit for a respectable average at the major league level.
That .297 average could easily be .250 or .260, if not worse, if the Blue Jays are not able to work with him and help him get a better command of the strike zone.
The other numbers are impressive. He has the power and the ability to drive in runs. To go along with the 27 HR, he picked up 36 doubles, showing that the HR power is not a fluke. The 22-year old (he turns 23 in January) could have the ability to hit 30+ HR once he does reach the majors.
The runs aren’t the greatest, but as a catcher what exactly do you expect? Bengie Molina is considered one of the better offensive catchers in the league and he scored just 47 runs. If he can score in the 65-70 range, he’ll be just fine.
I don’t think his time will come early on in 2009, but I could see him starting at the Triple A level and if he continues to thrive, the Blue Jays will have little reason not to give him a chance in the majors as the season wears on. Given the numbers he produced this season, that certainly makes him a prospect to watch next season.
My recommendation: Owners in long-term keeper leagues stash him away as power catchers like this don’t come around too often. Owners in keeper leagues with extremely deep benches also could stash him away at the start of the season. Otherwise, if you’re in a yearly league, you are better off just waiting until he actually gets the call before snatching him up.
For more great fantasy info, check out Rotoprofessor.com.