Despite Tuesday night’s loss to Sacramento, top prospect JP Arencibia remains cool and collected, perhaps something that a few seasons in the Blue Jays farm system has taught the 24 year old Miami native. The unusually high winds at Cashman Field took its toll tonight where Las Vegas left the field lacking, losing the last of a four game series to the Sacramento Rivercats, 15-6. Outside of the 51’s locker room, hand outstretched, calm and composed, Arencibia, though not quite yet in the big league show, already shows some of the composure of a seasoned MLB veteran.
The 6’1″ catcher, who shares the same alma mater as Alex Rodriguez, and tied his Westminster Christian High career homerun record of 17 in 2004, began his journey to Las Vegas by being selected as a first round draft pick by the Blue Jays Organization where he quickly moved through Single-A Dunedin and the Double-A Fisher Cats. With impressive skills both at and behind the plate, Arencibia quickly found himself in Triple-A Vegas where he remained for the entire 2009 season appearing in 116 games hitting 21 home runs, second only to then teammate Randy Ruiz who was named the 2009 PCL MVP. The Miami native managed this while also throwing out 25 percent of potential base stealers. It’s no wonder that Arencibia was ranked the No. 2 prospect entering the 2009 season and the No. 4 prospect within the Blue Jays system in 2010 by Baseball America.
The catcher and sometimes designated hitter also managed to tough out the 2009 season through vision problems which he self admits, affected his game.
“I had an astigmatism and I I had a really tough time seeing at night. I had an easier time to hit during the day, but most of our games are at night,” said the right-handed batter. “I had Lasik surgery in the off and everything’s okay now.”
Despite the obstacle that Arencibia’s astigmatism presented at the time, the University of Tennessee alumni also faced a few other health issues this past off season. Earlier this year, Arencibia had undergone surgery to correct an ongoing kidney ailment.
“During Spring Training I found out I had a blockage in my kidney. I had surgery in the off and everything is okay now. ”
Arencibia has grown with the Blue Jays Organization and having done so, is rumored to be called to the Big Show soon enough, some even saying that its quite possible that the prospect may even dawn a Toronto jersey when rosters expand. Perhaps even sooner; player development, positioning and performance taken into consideration both up in the Big League and in Triple-A. Rumors aside, Arencibia demonstrates both maturity and patience, a valuable commodity both on and off the field.
“I’ve heard a lot of things… this season, last season. You never know… I don’t think about [the rumors] anymore. I’ve been given an opportunity and people have thought highly of me and are confident in my abilities. I try not to put extra pressure on myself. I go out there, be myself and just have fun. I do my best when I’m myself and have fun.”
Arencibia hit his third homerun of the season tonight and is currently batting .309. Regardless of which jersey the catcher and top prospect finds himself in, he’s surely one to watch for in the coming season.
Las Vegas ended their four game series tonight against Sacramento going 10-10 for the season and are currently tied for 2nd place within the PCL South. The 51’s are next scheduled to take on the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies this Thursday, April 29, 2010 at Cashman Field for Budweiser Dollar Beer Night. For more information visit www.lv51.comTags: JP Arencibia, Las Vegas 51's, Las Vegas Baseball, Sacramento Rivercats, Toronto Blue Jays