J.P. Arencibia, the Toronto Blue Jays'... uh... "catcher of the future", as some people might call him, is kind of "terrible", as I might call him. The obvious reason for this is his laughably bad career minor league OBP of .305. An optimistic homer might suggest that this is merely a horribly misguided attempt to rep his hometown, while a more reasonable person, however, would realize it has more to do with his complete inability to draw a walk, as evidenced by only having done so 58 times in 1286 minor league plate appearances. For comparison, the legendarily impatient Miguel Olivo managed to draw 134 walks in 1641 plate appearances over his minor league career (versus 98 in 2631 in the majors[!].... clearly Olivo isn't a fan of the old adage "if it ain't broke don't fix it"). So as of right now, Arencibia is simply looking like a poor man's Rod Barajaggkiyffvnjkm............... Ugh, sorry. My brain started shutting contemplating the implications of that sentence.
Now normally, I would just point to his obvious impatience as the root to his problems and leave it at that. But, not today.
MLB.com has recently released their 2010 fantasy preview, and their entry on Arencibia was very revealing. Specifically this picture:
What's so interesting about this picture? Nothing. Nothing, that is, until you realize that the catcher's mitt is in the foreground. Which means that Arencibia has to be standing on the left-handed side of the plate. Which means that he sets up before every pitch with his back to the plate.
Now, I remember a number of children's shows using this as a visual gag to illustrate a specific character's ridiculous unathleticism. But I never thought anyone actually ever did this. Let alone pros.
Quite frankly, I'm astonished this hasn't been identified and corrected by the Jay's minor league hitting coaches yet. I know the Jays have been incapable of developing hitters for a while now, but I never thought the instruction in the minors was this bad.
Honestly, it's a testament to just how talented J.P. Arencibia is. 51 homers over 2 seasons while facing the wrong direction is quite remarkable. If this gets fixed, I can only assume that it will fix his problem with distinguishes balls and strikes as well, seeing as the ball will no longer be, you know, behind him.
Fix this, Blue Jays! Do not allow for Arencibia's Pujolsian talent to be suppressed by his baffling batting stance any longer! Renew the faith! ARENCIBIA FOR MVP!! WOOOOOOOOOOO!!