Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Arencibia knocking on the major league door

Blue Jays catching prospect J.P. Arencibia certainly knows how to make a good impression. He did so coming out of college at Tennessee, prompting the club to select him with the 21st pick in the 2007 draft. The 6' 215 lb. righty also has been showing off his vast potential during the spring, homering in each of his three contests, which has him knocking on the door for a promotion to the big leagues.

It hasn't always been easy for the Jays "catcher of the future." Since birth, Arencibia has had a problematic kidney condition, one that nearly caused him to need it removed last season. It was also discovered that he dealt with vision problems, prompting him to undergo lasik eye surgery. That might explain why the catcher hit just .227 in 97 night games compared to .284 in 19 afternoon contests.

The perception last season in AAA Las Vegas was that he had a down year. While he did have a pedestrian batting average of .236, he clubbed an impressive 21 home runs while driving in 75 runs. Couple that with his scorching hot end to the campaign in which he smacked 6 home runs and plated 15 runs in his final 10 games, and the season can't be characterized as a complete failure. The biggest hurdle Arencibia faced was improving his defense behind the plate, which he worked extremely hard on, gaining recognition for his efforts.

Arencibia is almost certainly ticketed to AAA Las Vegas to begin the season, barring injury to the presumptive starting catcher John Buck or backups Jose Molina and Raul Chavez. If the talented youngster can continue tearing the cover off the baseball and getting better behind the dish, there is optimism he could earn a promotion to Toronto sooner rather than later.

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