30-Year-Old Catcher – Tampa Bay Rays
2016 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
The book on Arencibia was out long before 2015: intriguing power, few walks, and an ungodly amount of strikeouts from the catcher position. So when the 29-year-old took over catching duties in late Au...
J.P. Arencibia Contract Information:
Signed a minor league deal with the Rays in May of 2016.
Arencibia is hitting .396 with four homers for Triple-A Durham in the 11 games since the All-Star break, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
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J.P. Arencibia: MLB Games Played By Position
J.P. Arencibia: Minor League Games Played By Position
J.P. Arencibia Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Tampa Bay Rays Roster
MajorsAndriese, Matt (P)
AAAArencibia, J.P. (C)
AAAcosta, Mayobanex (C)
A+Ciuffo, Nick (C)
ABurke, Brock (P)
J.P. Arencibia: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Once a highly-touted prospect with a first-round pedigree, Arencibia has become a fringe major leaguer at the age of 29. An injury to Geovany Soto created an opportunity for Arencibia early on in 2014, but he was easily outplayed by Robinson Chirinos -- Arencibia hit just .133/.182/.233 in the first two months -- and was ultimately outrighted off the 40-man roster in late May. Arencibia decided to accept the assignment and bide his time in the minors, and the decision paid off as the Rangers, desperate for any sort of help they could get at first base, brought Arencibia back to the major league roster shortly after the All-Star break. Aside from a two-homer, seven-RBI performance July 29, Arencibia didn't do much, chipping in the occasional homer but getting on base at just a .263 clip in the second half. Arencibia signed a minor league deal with Baltimore and will try to win a reserve role this spring.
Arencibia's walk rate (3.6%) declined for the second straight year in 2013, as he stumbled to a hideous .194/.227/.365 line. While he still has excellent power at a premium position, Arencibia is otherwise a complete disaster at the plate. The Jays non-tendered him in December, waving the white flag on their former catcher of the future. Now 28 years old, Arencibia will compete with Geovany Soto for playing time behind the plate in Texas after signing a one-year deal with the Rangers in December.
Arencibia is as streaky as hitters come, yet his batting line was very similar to 2011 (.233/.275/.435). Now 27, he's in his power peak with a very strong lineup around him. Arencibia has shown steady issues with plate discipline, and a drop in his walk rate from 7.4 percent in 2011 to 4.8 percent last season is hardly encouraging. With the Jays' decision to trade Travis d'Arnaud to the Mets as part of the R.A. Dickey deal, it appears Arencibia has more time to solidify his hold on the team's starting catcher spot.
Arencibia displayed plus-power from a catcher with 23 homers and a .438 slugging percentage but really suffered with his batting average, hitting .219, thanks in large part to 133 strikeouts in just 486 plate appearances. He really suffered against righties (.206 average) and at home (.201 average), both of which figure to improve. He'll be back as the team's regular behind the plate and figures to provide above average power and counting stats from the catching position, especially if he can cut down on his strikeouts and put a few more balls in play.
Arencibia enjoyed a huge season at Triple-A Las Vegas last year, hitting .301 with 32 homers before earning a short call-up with the Blue Jays, homering twice in his debut. The Jays wisely let John Buck leave via free agency, opening the door for Arencibia. It should be noted that Arencibia's command of the strike zone is only adequate (38 walks and 85 strikeouts in 459 plate appearances at Triple-A), but he's been advanced pretty aggressively for a catcher. He'll enter the season with the inside track on the starting job behind the plate, but the Jays have a veteran option in Jose Molina if Arencibia struggles. Expect some growing pains at the plate, however.
Arencibia took a step back in 2009, hitting just .236 with 114 strikeouts in 500 plate appearances at Triple-A Las Vegas. The only somewhat encouraging sign is that his power remained intact despite his lack of control of the strike zone, though 21 homers in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League isn't anything to get overly excited about. The Jays had hoped he'd at least be ready to push for a job this spring, but that's simply not going to happen even with the departure of Rod Barajas. He'll need to work on controlling the strike zone and should get that chance as he'll spend most of the season at Triple-A.
Arencibia has been advanced aggressively so far in his pro career, spending half the season at Double-A New Hampshire in just his second season. He has plus-power potential, evidenced by his 36 doubles and 27 homers between High-A and Double-A this past season. He'll need to learn to command the strike zone however, as he drew just 18 walks and struck out 101 times 510 at-bats. He'll likely begin the year at Double-A and bears watching to see if his power can hold up against advanced competition.
Arencibia, taken in the first round of the 2007 draft, signed quickly and made his pro debut in the short-season New York-Penn League. He hit a poor .254/.309/.377, though he did manage a nice 17 doubles in just 228 at-bats. The knock on him coming out of the draft was his defense, which could result in a position switch from behind the plate as he advances. He hit better as the year progresed, including a nice .308/.357/.440 line in August, but his batting eye needs a lot of work before we can start projecting the power going forward.