Texas Rangers Spring Training Preview – Who’s catching

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J.P. Arencibia

Jun 28, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox designated hitter

David Ortiz

(34) is tagged out at home plate by Toronto Blue Jays catcher

J.P. Arencibia

(bottom with ball) during the third inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays didn’t not tender Arencibia at the arbitration deadline, allowing him to be a free agent, shortly after that the Texas Rangers signed J.P. Arencibia to a one year deal worth $1.8 million for the 2014 season.

J.P. Arencibia, who is 28, is another player that the Texas Rangers are hoping will add some power to the offense.  He is another player that does have the potential to hit some home runs.  He is known for his power, but so far in the majors he is known for flirting with the Mendoza line with a career batting line of .212/.258/.408/.666.

The Rangers are probably more impressed with his minor league numbers.   Over 5 seasons in the minors, he has a batting average of .275.319/.507/.826 with 122 doubles, 83 home runs, and 290 RBI.

One probably that has probably contributed to his batting is probably is approach at the plate.   In 2012 and 2013, he only had 18 walks over 240 games.

"“I’m just not going to do it anymore,” Arencibia said. “My approach is to go up there and try and drive the ball, hit the ball, and I’m going to try and do that every time I step into the batter’s box next year.” (FanGraphs.com Navin Vaswani)"

One thing the Texas Rangers coaching staff will need to do is to get him back to walking and waiting on pitches.  But that might not work, he did also comment on plate discipline.

"“Why is plate discipline only considered not swinging?” he asked. “Discipline can also be not taking pitches. Not taking a walk; ever. I’m up there disciplined enough to try and always hit the baseball. That’s how I see it.” (FanGraphs.com Navin Vaswani)"

But even if Arencibia doesn’t get the hits the Rangers are looking for, he does have the potential to be a very capable catcher.  Last season he was ranked number 12 in caught stealing percentage.   The one major area of concern though behind the plate is the number of errors and passed balls.

Last year, Arencibia had 11 errors and 13 passed balls, which was the worst in the majors last year.  Also, his fielding percentage of .988 put him near the bottom of all catchers.  He has similar fielding numbers in the minors.

Don’t expect to see Arencibia getting a lot of playing time behind the plate or as DH.  Geovany Soto and Mitch Moreland will be getting most of the playing time at those spots.  Arencibia does have potential, if he’s willing to change a few things to improve his game.  He has done well in the past, but again, he does have some areas to work with his bat and behind the plate.

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