Saturday, March 6, 2010

Spring Optimism

by jw

It seems we do this every year, doesn't it?  Spring training comes around and the players whose value we questioned have suddenly become heroes when they play well in meaningless games.  It was not too long ago, while the Morrow-League trade was going down, that JP Arencibia's (left, courtesy of phxwebguy) name was mentioned as possibly being the minor league player sent to Seattle, and I thought good, I'm tired of being disappointed by him.

A few games into Spring Training, with a couple home runs by Arencibia, and suddenly my opinion has shifted again.  Maybe its the warm weather, but I'm feeling optimistic again about the Blue Jays' Catcher-Of-The-Future (part viii).

As beat reporter Jordan Bastian states in Friday's article, Arencibia was apparently having trouble with his vision during the 2009 season, making it harder for him to see at night.  According to his splits, he hit .284/.338/.432 during the day, as opposed to .227/.274/.446 as night.  With his Lasik surgery this offseason it seems reasonable that his numbers will look more like the daytime line this coming season.

His major offensive flaw through the minors has always been his walk-rate and on-base percentage, but if we consider his daytime batting line more in line with his capabilities, a .338 on-base is not that bad and is an improvement on his batting average driven .320 OBP from 2008.

Arencibia has legit power, good defence, and seems to be improving his walk rate.  This should be the season he makes his major league debut in September if not sooner, and with a good showing in the minors and the majors he could make a claim on the starting catcher job as early as 2011.

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