Not since the days of Ernie Whitt & Buck Martinez, when Exhibition Stadium was rocking and all you heard was the loud chant of ERNIE! ERNIE! ERNIE!, have the Blue Jays had an overload of talent behind the plate! Sure the Jays have had some talented Catchers like Pat Borders, Darrin Fletcher & Greg Zaun, but they've never had a stronger tandem.
Last Wednesday against the Yankees, All-Star John Buck took a foul ball to his right wrist that put him on the DL for 15 days. Things weren't looking good in Toronto for the stretch run, as it's hard to replace an All Star but it's even harder to replace an All Star Catcher.
In his absence the Jays called up 2007 1st Round Draft Pick J.P. Arencibia from AAA Las Vegas. Arencibia had been tearing up AAA Pitcher with ease, accumulating 52 HR's in 210 games since 2009. Arencibia debuted last Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays and what a debut it was!
On the first pitch of his MLB career he took Shields over the Left Field wall to put the Jays up 3-0. Arencibia was the first Jay since Junior Felix to homer in his first career plate appearance. In his 2nd plate appearance he took an outside pitch down the Right Field line for a double. He added a single in his 3rd at bat and homered again in the 6th inning. Tampa Bay finally managed to get him out on a fly ball in foul territory. Going 4 for 5 in his first game in the majors is quite an accomplishment and I look forward to seeing more of him in the next couple of weeks. He has become an instant fan favourite which is notable by the fans chanting JP, JP, JP late in the game. Total shades of Ernie Whitt!
What does the future hold for the Rookie Phenom? I guess the next 15 days will decide his fate!
Last, but not least, there's Jose Molina. Molina has become Brandon Morrow's very own personal catcher although Cito Gaston will ultimately have the final say. Morrow stated that he will pitch to whoever Cito puts behind the plate. But after seeing him catch Morrow's 1 hit gem, Cito won't want to break that tandem up.
What happens if he doesn't cool off though? Who will likely be left behind when John Buck returns? My guess is Jose Molina but if J.P. proves to be the "real deal" don't be surprised if the Jays try to free up some salary by trading away Buck. From what I've seen so far, Arencibia looks as though he's ready for the show and could turn out to be one of the biggest Jays prospect ever!