The Toronto Blue Jays reassured J.P. Arencibia that he was their catcher moving forward and for the future when they dealt blue chip prospect Travis d’Arnaud to the New York Mets in the R.A. Dickey deal. The move extinguished all the speculation that the Blue Jays preference behind the dish was d’Arnaud.
In response to the move, Arencibia has been hitting baseball out of major league ball parks at a torrid pace. He currently leads the American League in home runs, having dialed long distance eight times in 21 games. The catcher is on pace for a 60-home run season, which is an obviously unrealistic total. However, he could eclipse 40 at the rate he is on.
Could Arencibia be the next Adam Dunn with his all-or-nothing approach? The backstop has struck out 32 times in 84 plate appearances for a lofty 38.1 strikeout percentage rate. Arencibia is currently tied for second for the most strikeouts in the major leagues, three whiffs behind leader Chris Carter. Dunn currently has three home runs to go along with 28 strikeouts for the Chicago White Sox.
The 27-year-old’s career-high for round-trippers is 23 slugged in 2011, a season where he also struck out 133 times. Arencibia is on pace to destroy both of those personal bests at the current pace he is on.
I am pretty confident the Blue Jays will overlook the high strikeout rate if their catcher keeps popping pitches out of the park. It would be pretty hard to complain about your catcher leading the league in home runs.