Some fantasy players claim that catchers are a dime a dozen and vow to wait until the later rounds before drafting one.
Why is it then that catching prospects draw the most attention of any position across the board when talking in terms of fantasy baseball? It is because finding a good one is so hard to do and when you do have a catcher who is performing you know that you have a real advantage against most of the teams in your league.
Is J.P. Arencibia one of those players who will lead you to fantasy success in 2011? Let's find out in the final installment of this Spring Trainings Hot Prospects.
J.P. Arencibia—Catcher—Toronto Blue Jays
Height: 6'1" Weight: 210 lbs Hits: Right Throws: Right
2010 Stats (AAA)—.301/.359/.626, 32 HR, 85 RBI, 76 runs, 0 steals
Scouting Report—Since being the second catcher taken in the 2007 after only Matt Wieters, Arencibia has proven that he can hit homeruns in bunches in the minor leagues. But up until last season many scouts and personnel within the Blue Jays organization questioned whether he would ever be able to touch major league pitching.
Those questions were answered after Arencibia had LASIK eye surgery in the offseason and went on to crush AAA pitching at a .301 clip and up his HR, RBI and run totals by a wide margin. He was much more patient last season, evidently because he could see the ball and thus recognize the pitch that much better.
There is no questioning his power to all fields or his work ethic. Arencibia has worked hard to stay behind the plate and has made great strides defensively. After an impressive debut in which he belted two home runs, the Jays worked to lower and shorten up his swing a bit which they believe will help in turn around fastballs running in on his hands.
2011 Analysis—Arencibia will enter the regular season as the Blue Jays starting catcher which should allow him plenty of opportunity to earn the teams and fantasy player's trust.
Still, he will have to play well defensively in order to hold off backup Jose Molina. In many ways, Arencibia is comparable to Toronto's All-Star representative last year John Buck.
Though his eyesight has improved and he hit over .300 in AAA last year, Arencibia will not hit for a high average at the big league level. What he will do however is crush opposing pitchers mistakes and provides a good power source for fantasy purposes.
The Toronto offense is one in flux coming into 2011 as there are many question marks and patchwork that has been performed this off-season. If players like Adam Lind, Aaron Hill and Travis Snider can regain previous form, there could be plenty of runs scored north of the boarder this season.
Arencibia would benefit greatly by opposing pitchers being too careful of certain Toronto hitters and leaving him cookies for his to mash. In leagues that offer a few bench spots, Arencibia is a perfect candidate to draft in the later rounds to stash and insert into your lineup when your starting catcher is off or when the young backstop gets hot.
Compare To—John Buck, Kelly Shoppach, Chris Snyder
Jeff Mans is a contributor to Bleacher Report and is the Senior Writer for Fantasy Alarm.