He don't get no respect.
Lately, it seems like popular opinion that Travis D'Arnaud is clearly the Jays' catcher of the future.
Sure, D'Arnaud is an exciting prospect, and, ideally, he will contribute at the major league level very soon. But it's an old trap that baseball fans—and particularly Toronto sports fans in general—seem to fall into: ignoring the present by diving into the excitement of the future. And it certainly seems like Jays fans don't realize how lucky they are to have J.P. Arencibia behind the plate.
First, it's important to remember that the catcher position is the most unique of any in baseball. To be an effective major league catcher, a player must bring a whole array of intangibles while contributing on the scoresheet.
With that in mind, it's more accurate to compare Arencibia's statistics to his counterparts behind the dish. He currently sits with a .246 batting average, seven home runs and 26 RBI. Of all the regular catchers in the American League this season, that puts Arencibia fourth in batting average, second in home runs and second in RBI.
Tell me, Jays fans, why are you so quick to dismiss this player as a stop-gap until D'Arnaud is ready?
I understand that D'Arnaud is a player who, in an ideal world, would easily surpass Arencibia's hideous .277 on-base percentage and 38 strikeouts. But D'Arnaud is an unknown commodity.
On the other hand, JPA is a known commodity who has not only proved himself offensively, but has shown a vast improvement in his defensive abilities and effectiveness in managing the Jays starting pitchers.
Did I mention that Arencibia is only 26 years old and is hitting .300 in May?
It's mildly confusing to think that such a young, talented, entertaining player, who was frequently described as the "catcher of the future" since he was drafted in 2007, frustrates the Jays fanbase so much.
It's something that Jays fans should learn to deal with.
They have a young catcher who handles his pitchers well and is a leader in the clubhouse.
As long as Arencibia keeps generating runs, he'll remain a Toronto Blue Jay for a very long time.
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