Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Who is the Jays Catcher of the Future?

One thing that doesn’t bother general managers is having too much depth. But when a team has three prospects that all play the same position, and all have different qualities, it becomes a tough decision on who to keep, and who to trade away. For the Jays, the problem is having three top notch catching prospects.

The first prospect is J.P Arencibia, who is tied for the lead in home runs in the MLB with 18 by a catcher with Mike Napoli and Brian McCann, but has an abysmal .214 average. The second is Travis d’Arnaud, who is amazing at everything offensively, but he is a below average fielder, throwing out only almost a quarter of the runners that try to steal a base off of him for his career. The last catching prospect, who is currently playing for the Dunedin Blue Jays is A.J Jimenez. Jimenez is a well above average defender, throwing out 41% of base runners in his career, and has a very solid average of .302 this year.

Arencibia is in the MLB now, d’Arnaud will likely be the starter in AAA next season, and Jimenez will likely be the starter in AA next season, so this issue doesn’t need to be addressed until at least 2013 because that is when there will be two players ready for the MLB. Now let’s compare the players 2011 stats to see if the problem occurred now, who should get the Jays starting job at catcher.

J.P Arencibia: 88 GP, 313 AB, 343 PA, 23% CS% (Defensive)
.214 AVG, .280 OBP, .447 SLG, .727 OPS
13 2B, 3 3B, 18 HR, 52 RBI, 26 BB, 98 K

Travis d’Arnaud: 92 GP, 333 AB, 375 PA, 27% CS% (Defensive)
.324 AVG, .394 OBP, .550 SLG, .943 OPS
30 2B, 0 3B, 15 HR, 58 RBI, 30 BB, 74 K

A.J Jimenez: 86 GP, 321 AB, 354 PA, 42% CS% (Defensive)
.302 AVG, .349 OBP, .402 SLG, .751 OPS
21 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 36 RBI, 23 BB, 52 K

If I was faced with this problem I would likely have d’Arnaud as my starting catcher, because he gets on base the most out of all three, and that is what I care about the most. As my backup I would want Arencibia because he has the most power, and he would be able to generate offense when he comes in to a game as a pinch hitter, and still produce when he gets the start as DH or C when d’Arnaud. But remember that all three players are young and there is really no way to predict what they are going to do in the future. I see Jimenez getting traded next year at the trading deadline to fill whatever gap they need to fill in order to contend.

Comments are welcomed on who you would want as your starting catcher and backup catcher if you had to choose between the three.

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