Player Profile: J.P. Arencibia

Player Profile: J.P. Arencibia

Credit: Getty Images

Colby Lewis #48 of the Texas Rangers talks to Mike Maddux #31and J.P. Arencibia #7 on the mound during the top of the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Surprise Stadium on March 03, 2014 in Surprise, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)

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by EDDIE MIDDLEBROOK

WFAA Sports

Posted on March 6, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 5 at 11:33 PM

2013 Stats: .194/.227/.365, 21 homeruns, 59 OPS+

Salary: $1.8 million (Arbitration eligible, Free Agent in 2017)

Each week, we will look at key players on the Texas Rangers 25-man roster, and this time we look at the team’s free-swinging catcher, J.P. Arencibia.

Year in Review: Arencibia played the most games of his career in the 2013 season (138), but was only able to hit .194 and had a .592 OPS, both career lows. He did most of his damage in the friendly confines of the Rogers Centre. At home, Arencibia hit .242/.270/.462 while he struggled mightily on the road (.147/.185/.269). In 2013, park factors ranked the Rogers Centre the fourth-most hitter-friendly park behind Coors Field, Wrigley Field and Comerica Park. The Miami native also started the season off fast, but fizzled after April due mostly to a strained left hamstring. OPS by month: .833, .607, .542, .617, .572 and .249.

"I was at my worst in the second half," Arencibia said. "It's tough to hit with no legs. You start to make adjustments and from that it only creates bad habits."

While Arencibia struggled at the plate last season, his value is in his ability to frame pitches. In 2013, he ranked seventh among MLB catchers in Runs Above Average (RAA), a metric created by Matthew Carruth from StatCorner.

Career: Arencibia was selected with the 21st pick in the first round of the 2007 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. In 2009, he ranked 43rd of Baseball America’s top 100 prospect list, but fell off the list completely in 2010 due to his lack of plate discipline. Throughout his short career, J.P. has shown his ability to hit for power, strikeout at a high rate and rarely take a walk.

For his career, Arencibia has hit .212/.258/.408 with a 78 OPS+. Since his first full season in 2011, J.P.’s 62 home runs are fifth most among catchers behind Mike Napoli (77), Matt Wieters (67), Carlos Santana (65) and Brian McCann (64). His 5.8% walk rate ranks 20th among qualified catchers during the same span, and his 28.7% strikeout rate is second only behind Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s 30.4%.

With great power, comes great swing and miss.

2014 season: If you are missing Derek Holland’s Harry Caray and Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions, don’t fret because Arencibia has you covered with his impression of ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian.

As for the upcoming season, J.P. has high hopes for him and his partner in crime, Geovany Soto.

"I told Geo, 'Let's be the best catching tandem in baseball,'" Arencibia said. "He knows he can play every day. I can play every day; why not be the best tandem in baseball? I look at things in a positive light."

Though ZIPS’ projections don’t have the dynamic duo as the best, it does forecast Arencibia hitting 22 homeruns with a .227/.270/.428 slash line. It also projects him to be worth 1.4 wins which is slightly ahead of Soto’s 1.3 wins.

While the addition of Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder get most of the notoriety, the Arencibia signing could be a shrewd move for Jon Daniels that could have a reasonable payoff by the end of the season.

Eddie Middlebrook is a staff writer for Paranoid Fan, covering MLB and college football. Back in 2010, Eddie wrote for Fox Sports Southwest covering the Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks and the Big 12. In 2012, he began writing for Shutdown Inning where he eventually became Vice President of Media. You can email Eddie at eddie@paranoidfan.com or catch him on Twitter @emiddlebrook.

 

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