It may be because fans of the Toronto Blue Jays have been forced to watch an overrated catcher in J.P. Arencibia over the past three seasons, but the new catcher in town has been the recipient of a lot of praise since he made his way to Toronto — and for good reason. Dioner Navarro is doing something that Arencibia was never able to do as a member of the Jays — he’s proving to be productive both behind the plate and inside the batter’s box.
This brings a massive sigh of relief to an organization that experienced some bad luck with Arencibia, a catcher who didn’t have any problem tooting his own horn without having the numbers to back it up. And while Arencibia continues his struggles, now as a member of the Texas Rangers, Navarro is making some noise of his own, putting up a batting average of .281 in 32 at bats so far for the Jays while driving in six timely RBIs. However, the production hasn’t stopped there.
On Wednesday night against the Houston Astros, Navarro was given the rare assignment of executing a stolen base on a hit and run play with Brett Lawrie at the plate. Much to the surprise of everyone inside the Rogers Centre, teammates included, Navarro managed to swipe the bag for his first stolen base on the season and the 11th of his career. This brought his first of what will surely be many standing ovations of the season.
Along with being a solid contributor in the middle of the batting order, Navarro shows his talents behind the plate as well. Navarro is both a vocal and defensively sound catcher, which should continue to help a Jays’ pitching rotation that is still trying to figure itself out. This is another aspect of Arencibia’s game that was missing on a daily basis — the ability to help hold runners on base with great defensive plays and cheeky play calling.
Navarro may have already been set up for success due to the lack of talent surrounding his predecessor, but he is proving to everyone in Toronto that he is indeed the real deal. Getting immediate production from your catcher isn’t something team’s all across Major League Baseball are necessarily used to, but the Jays will run with it for as long as Navarro is willing to contribute, which looks to be more often than not.