According to multiple sources, including his .403 wOBA and .949 OPS for the Las Vegas 51s, Toronto Blue Jays 23 year-old catching prospect Travis D’Arnaud has conquered Triple A. According to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus, he’s “awfully close” to being ready for promotion.

With Kyle Drabek’s disappointing development and the bullet dodging transactions that eventually turned Michael Taylor into Anthony Gose, D’Arnaud’s status as the top catching prospect in baseball (again according to Goldstein) is the only good news to directly come out of the infamous trade that sent Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies and a new team dynamic to the Blue Jays.

The only problem with bringing D’Arnaud up is that there happens to be a young slugging catcher already in place at the Major League level in J.P. Arencibia, or Aaron Cibia if you prefer. The most likely scenario will see D’Arnaud eventually usurp the fan favourite as the starting catcher, offering the Blue Jays a prized trading chip in Arencibia, who could be described as a young, and hopefully more consistently powerful, John Buck.

The problem, which I suppose is a good one to have, is how to break D’Arnaud into the role for which he’s been anointed while also ensuring that Arencibia’s trade value isn’t diminished by decreased playing time. Both Goldstein in the article linked to above, and FOX Sports’ resident Detroit Tigers super fan Jon Paul Morosi on Twitter, suggest that the incumbent catcher can play first base in the absence of anything remotely resembling a contributing offensive force at the position on the team’s roster.

I would counter such suggestions with the following statement: No, he can’t.

Among catchers, Arencibia’s offensive contribution, both realized so far this season and projected for the remainder of the year, suggest that he’s a little bit below the average catcher at the plate. As a first baseman, his numbers simply don’t carry. By ZiPS, he projects to be only slightly better than the recently demoted Adam Lind offensively. And that’s not even beginning to consider the growing pains associated with learning a new position.

As a designated hitter, his updated wOBA projection for the remainder of the year would rank him as the very worst in baseball.

I suppose there’s nothing wrong with this if the team is ready to admit defeat for the season, but if it’s serious about competing for the division crown or a Wild Card playoff position, making Arencibia the full time first baseman is not the answer.

I like the idea of calling D’Arnaud up and easing him into the role of every day catcher, but not at the expense of the current season. So, here’s what I’d do, at least while there’s something still to play for:

Once Vladimir Guerrero is done his Minor League appeasement tour (brought to you by the Toronto Blue Jays), I call him and Lind up. I wait on D’Arnaud until the mathematicians in the front office tell me of an increased likelihood of avoiding Super Two should he never need Minor League seasoning again.

At that point, Arencibia and D’Arnaud split time at catcher, in a 50ish/50ish manner. Guerrero becomes the regular DH against left handed pitching, while Edwin Encarnacion gets called on to face righties as the DH, and southpaws as a first baseman. Lind then becomes the first baseman only against right handed pitching.

Once the dream of making the playoffs is dead, I’d do whatever the front office deems necessary for the betterment of the team’s future, even if that means ensuring plate appearances to both Arencibia and D’Arnaud, but until then, a lineup with the highest likelihood of success must be filled out. And in my opinion that lineup should have nothing to do with J.P. Arencibia at first base or designated hitter.

Comments (195)

  1. my stupid opinion is that they should just keep jpa and trade d’arnaud while he still has that shiny “top prospect” label. he could be the centrepiece of a deal for a legit star. again.

    • I’d do the same thing. If he is as good as advertised we can get something good in return.

    • But he looks like he may well be a legit star in his own right (I know shiny prospect shimmer and all) at a premium position. His defense is already superior to JPA, he has a much more higly graded hit tool, and his power is fairly even with our current catcher. JPA could be a great “major league proven” piece in a trade which, along with a couple low level high ceiling pitching prospects, could potentially bring in a decent 1b/LF option, or a younger, better than just shit-bag inning eating starting pitcher.

    • interesting thought, but D’Arnaud might be better in all facets of the game, excluding power

  2. So what do we do with Jeff Mathis? (haha)

  3. and I assume under this scenario Mathis is DFA.

    Why is everyone so quick to trade JP? D’Arnaud is nice chip. You could move him in a package for something real substantial. Let someone else take the risk that his skills don’t translate to the major league level.

    Noe every “sure-fire” prospect works out. I gurantee you that at least one of Gose, Hech, and D’Arnaud will never be a full time major leaguer. I can’t say for certain which one it will be. No one can. At least with JP we know what we have and I think he still has a bit of room for improvement.

  4. I fully agree with your arguments and your conclusion in this piece… but this paragraph:

    “With Kyle Drabek’s disappointing development and the bullet dodging transactions that eventually turned Michael Taylor into Anthony Gose, D’Arnaud’s status as the top catching prospect in baseball (again according to Goldstein) is the only good news to directly come out of the infamous trade that sent Roy Halladay to the Philadelphia Phillies and a new team dynamic to the Blue Jays.”

    … was kind of a big “wtf?” for me…

    What exactly is wrong with Kyle Drabek’s development? Last year was a lost year, but he’s managing to get by this year as a Major League starting pitcher. Granted his a #4 or #5 rigth now, but he’s still got room to improve. I’m quite satisfied with his development. I bet a lot of Bluejays employees are too.
    And the Gose part… I think he’s looking pretty good development wise too. If you’re dismissing him because he wasn’t directly a part of the Hallday trade then I get it (though you wording is unclear), but… well… why dismiss it?

    • Did you catch the Rangers game Drabek started?

      I’m not dismissing Gose, that’s why I threw the “direct” qualifier in there.

      • Ok, gotcha re: Gose.
        And yes I caught the Rangers game…. But that was one game. Overall Drabek’s surviving (if not thriving) in his first full big league season… I’m not willing to say he was a bust.
        I mean, we wouldn’t dismiss Lawrie as a bust just because he’s not utterly dominating the league in his first full season…. right?

      • By that logic Morrow and every other pitcher that has had a bad game is a bust

      • did you catch the OTHER Rangers game Drabek started?

        • We are talking about the Rangers here… they kinda make everyone look bad.

        • What Gargle said.

          Geez, if the recent Rangers series is the prime example, then Morrow is a total bust too. And that just isn’t the case.

      • Kind of like hitting the panic button less than 1/3 of the way throught the season isnt it?

      • seriously you are using one game to justify why Drabek isn’t doing well. I’m not sure this is actually Dustin Parkes talking to us….

        He’s been a lot better then I though he would be so far this season, he will be a very volatile pitcher as he continues to develop. Which sounds similar to another Jays pitcher we know all to well about his volatility (Morrow).

      • Really Parkes? Did you catch the Rangers game? are you for real? YEAH MAJOR BUST! He can’t even pitch against the best (don’t even think it’s arguable )offense in baseball! How dissapointing!
        He’s holding hitters to a .236 BA this year and he’s 24!!!! TWENTY FOUR! You should be ashamed of yourself

        • i agree with you.. parkes bases his story on 1 game and calls him a bust.. drabek will be fine, parkes wont be.

      • fucking dumb response right here…

      • Drabek is 24, and should not be written off.

        • Ah yeah he’s holding them to 236 batting average but whats the OBP. This kid can’t find the strike zone with a sherpa. I really dont think he has the smarts to become a PITCHER not a thrower.

      • You caught the rangers game he pitched Parkes? I thought you were watching the Giant’s game?

      • Did you catch the first Ranger game he started this season?

        By that logic Morrow is a bust because he pitched poorly against the Rangers.

        As for Gose, at the very worst he is a faster, better defensive fourth OF then Davis, With more K’s and more power.

      • “Did you catch the Rangers game Drabek started”

        Nope, Arencibia did

        Ba dum tssshhh

      • It’s not just one game everyone… when was the last time Drabek threw fewer than 3 walks, or maximized his pitching so that he wasn’t up to 100 pitches after 5 innings?

      • Yes he could play 1B not hard, but like you said would be below avg first basemen.
        What’s forgotten in this is that Jp wouldn’t want to play 1B and would refuse to , like Johnson wouldn’t play LF.
        Jp might not hit for a high avg, or ge ton base that much but he’s a catcher and as worked hard at it since he was young and would not move to another postion this early in his career.
        Tons of teams would come calling for a 20 HR catcher, every catcher is below avg on offense compaired to other palyers at different positons, since Travis is in triple A what’s to say he’s that much better at the Major league level then JP.
        Alot of top prospects fade in the show look at Mathis, why not keep both for 2013.

        • What the fuck? What right does Aaron fucking Cibia have to “refuse” anything?

          He’s paid to play baseball, if his manager wants him to play rover, he’ll damn well do it… And you think he’s going to say “if my choice is 1B or sitting on the bench, I’ll take the bench!”?

          Fuck man, this is worse than the “this guy should demand a trade and the team should trade him because it would be best for him.” arguments.

    • All that said. I like your suggestion for the rest of the year… that or someone goes Tonya Harding on JP and solves the problem for us…

    • Drabek still can’t throw strikes. He’s managed to get by somehow in a lot of starts where it really could have gone south. Hasn’t been good very often, really.

      And I don’t think Parkes is considering Gose as part of the Halladay deal– hence the “bullet dodging” bit.

      • Fine RE: Gose.

        But for Drabek, I just think it’s too soon to say that D’Arnaud is the only good piece the team got out of the Hallday deal. I know Drabek’s not where we all hoped he’d be when they got him… but…. still super early.

        … and his big league contribution has been greater than D’Arnaud’s to this point if you wanna think about it that way :)

        • People were calling RR a bust. He sorted it out. Drabek needs to fine-tune the throttle a little so he can control his pitches, but the pitch “stuff” is there.

      • Is Parkes (and Stoeten?) saying that Drabek has reached his ceiling, and he is not now nor will ever be a consistent major league starter?

        I saw his start in Texas too, but I also saw his start in Toronto against Texas at the end of April. I also noted a bad start by Verlander yesterday, and I understand that same pitcher had some bad starts when he was rookie. Drabek and Verlander are not the same pitcher, but precedent says less than a year of experience is too small a sample size to judge the future of a pitcher, nevermind 1 start against the best team in baseball.

        I think it’s a little too early to give up completely on Drabek unless it’s been decided that this year is the “Gotta win now!” year, which appears to be basis for trading JP away, as per this article.

        • Nobody is saying that Drabek has reached his ceiling at all. It’s just that his development has been disappointing to this point. You can say that at various points of a shitload of pitchers– Cliff Lee comes to mind, Ricky Romero when he kept repeating AA– so it’s hardly meant to be a death sentence. He’s got some good stuff, and command comes late for a lot of guys, it’s just… none of that makes it untrue that his development has been disappointing so far, and that you’d hope that after a year of having him straighten out his mechanics and command issues mostly in Vegas, that we wouldn’t be on the verge of repeating the process. Doesn’t mean he’s finished.

          • The problem with Drabek’s development is that hes still making all the same mistakes he was making last year when they sent him down. I really think this kid may not be cut out for starting but with his stuff I bet he could close.

          • Can’t disagree on Drabek thus far – we all hoped for bigger things immediately . . . it is part of our “WHAAAAA, I want a winner NOW!” personality as a Jays fanbase. We all look to Ricky Romero as where we hope Drabek will turn out, but none of us really knows if he turns into the next David Purcey either.

            Time will tell . . . in the meantime, all we can do is enjoy the ride in watching this young, exciting team!

      • Completely agree with Stoeten on this one. Are you people watching the games? Save the Yankees game (he still gave up 4 BBs in that one), he basically hasn’t thrown strikes consistently in all of May. His command looks like a clusterfuck right now.

        • He’s 24, simmer the fuck down on his disappointing development. He also lost a year in the minors due to TJ surgery.

          Also, weren’t Parkes and Stoeten the ones saying this wouldn’t be a contending year? Seems the perfect time to let a guy like Drabek work on his control. Remember the shitty performances from Marcum, McGowan and Janssen in ’06, then remember their ’07 season. Young pitchers need some time.

      • not to be confused with Boris the bullet-dodger…

        • There is a difference between what Parkes said – that d’Arnaud is the only good news out of the Halliday trade (Gose being the product of subsequent trades) and Drabek being a bust. Why do we all keep jumping to assumed extremes in each others arguments.

          Its perfectly reasonable to think that Drabek has been generally a disappointment given how highly some thought of him after AA, and how badly most of last year and this season has gone. Even though its been better in short spurts this season. I would say that d’Arnaud is very much the best news in that deal. Drabek thus far isn’t, but has many more years to prove he could be good.

        • you mean boris the blade?

    • Ya i agree. Drabek hasn’t looked to obad. Lately things have been a bit tough but he’s gonna go through that early in his career.

  5. billy butler is 26 and can play 1st, d’arnaud for a scuffling eric hosmer?

  6. You’re right that JP’s bat doesn’t really play elsewhere. For me, the only big concern in the whole thing is D’Arnaud’s playing time. With all the talk of young players needing to play every day (or almost every day), does it hinder D’Arnaud’s development/adjustment to the MLB if you only play him half the time?

    Or conversely, if he comes up and goes on a tear like Lawrie last year, can you really sit him half the time?

    • if he did go on a tear like lawrie did in his first 25-30 games or like thames did in his 2nd stint last year, then you find a spot for him, perhaps LF.

      • Really? You’re ready to just shove a catcher in left field? If you thought Thames was a butcher out there then D’Arnaud would likely commit actual murder in the outfield.

      • This whole scenario ain’t gonna happen, but if D’Arnaud is brought up and goes on a tear, I’d rather him see time at DH when Arencibia is catching than LF. Plus, we could put Edwin at 1B full time and permanently dump Lind.

    • There was a time when young catchers, even ones that were great prospects, spent their first couple of years in the major leagues as the back-up until they played their way into the starting role. Why can’t the Jays do this?

      Sure if the Jays can get a great player for D’Arnaud they should consider it, however I’m not sure how likely this is to happen.

  7. Is Mike McCoy blocking vlad from the major league roster?

  8. Its such a tough call to make. If you wait until the off season to trade JPA and start TdA in 2013 its going to be growing pains for the actual catching part of his job. But there is no way other then giving JPA most of the starts this year to get any value for him. Send him to a contender at trade deadline who prospects who match well with the timeline we currently have. Maybe some IF players or something. After the trade let TdA and Mathis share duties.

  9. yeah you’re looking at this purely from a technical standpont with no consideration about the player’s emotions (bich and whine all you want, but that’s important too)

    Arencibia does not deserve a demotion to be a part-time catcher. I want Darno up here as much as others but to demote JP shows a lack of respect for the team’s current players

    • Except… it’s really not important.

      • really? The more I read you and Parkes, the more amazed I become at how unbelievably little you two understand about anything. It’s mind boggling.

    • does it show a lack of respect or a commitment to winning and fielding the best team? JP hasnt exactly been tearing the world up with his .278 obp, ill wager if he had walked more than 4 times so far this year this may be a different convo

  10. Are you really calling Drabek a disappointment already!? Yeah he’s had (has) control issues… but his ‘stuff’ is killer. There are too many great pitchers who struggled with control early to suggest that he is a bust! Just sayin’

    • While this is true, I think it’s pretty fair to say he’s been disappointing, no?

      • not really…it’s disappointing to see a guy not be able to throw strikes… but I wasn’t expecting him to all of a sudden be a 15 game winner. He really does look like by next year he can be a solid #2. By your standards Morrow has also been a major disappointment.

        • There is nothing at all that suggests he can be a number two next year. That’s insane.

          It’s not impossible, but he’s got to throw strikes.

          • Not next year, no… but at some point in the recent past similar comments to yours were probably made about Brandon Morrow.

      • He hasn’t disappointed me (this year)… i guess is my point from my previous posts.

      • Disaappointment and disappointing are two very different things.

    • oops…didn’t see the other comments already made…I was just so perturbed by how you and Stoeten always diss the ‘spur of the moment’ emotion of fans regarding players…but then so often do the same thing yourself.

      • It’s not spur of the moment emotion. Parkes said his development has been disappointing. Him losing the ability to throw strikes he had in the minors has been just that.

        • I guess what I’m saying is that a few weeks ago, the control issues were ignored cause his era etc. was great. I don’t remember anything negative being said about Kyle. I don’t mean do diss either of you, but I think we all jump on and off bandwagons…that’s kinda the fun of being a baseball fan, no? Nothing wrong with it, and you guys do it too…I’m just saying maybe you can lay off those who you perceive as ‘bandwagon fans’ a little…we should all just enjoy the ride; sometimes we’ll be proven right, but usually we’ll all be wrong int the end.

          • if you’ve watched the DJF or maybe even it was in a getting blanked video, they all expressed concern about drabek’s numbers/performance so far and they predicted bad things ahead for kyle, I believe it was prior to his first start vs. Texas. So, they’re not being bandwagon jumpers at all.

        • Agreed. It has been disappointing and people should at least be honest in seeing that a guy who has a k/9 of 6.8 with a BB/9 of 6 and a HR/9 of 1.46 isn’t very good – which would qualify by the words very definition as disappointing.

          There is still a lot of time to turn things around – but I can’t fault Parkes at all for what he said originally.

    • As much as a hate Stoeten and Parkes’ permanent buzzkill attitude, you’d be out of your mind to say drabek hasn’t been disaapointing.

      It’s gonna take some serious work to get his control down.

  11. agree on JPA not being a 1b/DH for sure. d’Arnaud needs to be dealt, perhaps with Snider, for a SP with some hair on his ass and more than a rental, and the sooner, the better, we can’t afford too many more meltdowns on the mound. Once Vlad gets here, EE goes to 1b full time, and Vlad DHs full time, with only the odd game where a Cooper or a Lind or a Thames adds a LHB. Lind was an OF too at one time, he can play some LF. But Snider and d’Arnaud need to move on, ASAP, for someone who can really solidify the rotation.

    • The ONLY way they trade d’Arnaud is in a package for a top level (Ace or close) pitcher with at least 4 years of controllable/manageable contract…and that just ain’t gonna happen.

    • Are you nuts the best catching prospect in the GAME needs to go ???? You know how often one of these guys comes along???? JP you can get by with but from all reports D’arnaudt is heads and shoulders better. JP and something from minors probably can get you the true #2 or 3 starter

  12. People really have no idea how much better d’Arnaud is going to be than Arencibia, huh?

    Trade him, really? The fourth best prospect in baseball right now? Seriously?

    No, prospects don’t all work out, but one of the two catchers would be extremely difficult to replace, and it ain’t JPA. He’s fine and will definitely be an upgrade at the position for a lot of clubs, but everything anyone has ever said about these two says d’Arnaud is going to be much better, all-around, and he’s done nothing yet to suggest that’s wrong.

    • Despite all the evidence and hype it’s a bit scary to assume TDA will be everything we dream he will before he even gets an ML at-bat, no? I mean… Jeff Mathis was a pretty highly touted prospect once too (not nearly as highly as TDA obviously).

      I like Parkes’ solution though. Allows us to see what TDA can do before losing JPA. The thought of trading either one anytime soon (ie before we see what TDA can do) is both unappealing and highly unlikely.

      • Arencibia has a .272 on-base. The home runs are sexy, but it’s not like the bar is set very high– unless you include beerability.

        • He’s also good looking… according to my girlfriend.

          So… would you trade him now? rather than do what parkes suggested and let him and TDA share the time for a while?

          • Would be tough to trade him now, but I think the overall point is that it’s coming.

            I don’t have the same problem with giving some time to JPA at DH (or maybe even 1B) during the transition, but not a whole hell of a lot.

        • Sure a 272 ob-base is pretty shitty, but he has really been hitting well lately and started the season horrible, I wouldn’t mind giving JP all of this year to see how his bat plays. I really think there is more to JP’s bat then a <250 hitter with a <300 on-base, the guy has a ton of power for a Catcher and it would be interesting to see if he continues to develop as a hitter this year. But if we don't see his bat come alive this year, you probably have to ship him off.

          • the power is great but his 4 walks and 272 obp rank him in the bottom 10 in all of MLB qualified hitters… I don’t think we’re in any rush to trade either one of them right now though, even next season. because they’re both so young and theoretically either one of them could improve in the next year or so, we have the luxury of being able to take our time and really make sure we know what we have in TdA first before deciding to trade either one.

        • He had a horrible start to the season. Has been better. Has room to improve. Also young. They can wait on TD. Remember how Wieters was somewhat useless despite all the hype? More at-bats in AAA won’t do anything but help TD.

    • Completely agree. JPA is good for what he is. When all the plus and minus are worked out he’s probably average. I can see him improving from where he is right now – but the ceiling for the two are hardly similar. That’s ignoring the fact that JPA is 26 and D’Arnaud is 23 which is hardly insignificant.

      Trade JPA at some point, keep D’Arnaud.

    • I agree. JPA is ok, but TDA could be great. You have to take the risk on the unproven higher ceiling guy.

      • This is like the dilemma had with Gary Carter and Barry Foote at the beginning of their careers. Yeah, they kept the right guy. Let’s see the Jays be as smart.

  13. Nice article, but Parkes I really wish you’d stop being so negative about the Jays playoff chances considering they are over .500 at the moment and it is not even June 1st yet. It is still a long shot that the Jays will make it but no need for all the negativity.

  14. I agree that Arencibia’s numbers as they stand aren’t good enough for a first basemen on a team in the playoff hunt. I do wonder though that if he was not dealing with the constant wear and tear and extra work a mlb catcher is put through that he wouldn’t see an increase in offensive production. Just a thought because when he is on he certainly can mash

    • Yeah but he can’t get on base. I dont’ see that happening with more time to think about it between at-bats. Not a lot of players can significantly change their OBP skills over their career (incremental improvements are possible obviously)

  15. Everyone’s assuming Vladdy will pull his weight once he comes up, but there’s no reason to be so sure of that.

    Let’s say Vladdy doesn’t cut it. If D’Arnaud is a better potential hitter than Aaron Cibia, why not stick him in at DH?

    • Because a catcher’s bat is much more valuable behind the plate.

      • Well, doesn’t it really matter what your other options are? If you have two catchers that are better than your option for DH, why don’t you just put one of them at DH?

        It doesn’t have to be permanent. My guess is that if D’Arnaud is the real deal, then Aaron Cibia is goint to get dealt. So in the meantime, why don’t we put them both in?

  16. One thing I’m worried about with a JP trade is that Lawrie has already shown he has the mentality of a 10 year old. What happens if you trade his (i’m assuming) best friend on the team?

    I’m excited for d’Arnaud, but what can we reasonably expect in return for JP?

    • Lawrie has had lots of new teammates in his various stops over the last three years and he’s been fine.

  17. What’s the rush for promoting D’arnaud?

    For a bunch of guys preaching “sample size” it’s a bit confusing.
    Don’t want to bring him up until needed, let him FULLY develop.
    Do you need to add another rookie to the 7 already here?
    After the Snider thing,ya gotta wonder.

    • Because at this point in his development, continuing to dominate AAA does absolutely nothing for him.

    • Not sure what sample size has to do with anything.

      d’Arnaud is only almost exactly a year younger than Snider, and has only 90 fewer minor league plate appearances than he does now. He’s got over 600 PA more than Snider did when he was first called up, so it’s not the same kind of rush.

      Also, who cares how many rookies are on the team if they’re better than what else they’ve got?

      • Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t d’arnaud start the year rather ho hum and only in the last month turned it up offensively?Hence SSS.

        Like I said,what’s the urgency?

        So he spends another 60 days in AAA. Is that really to his determinent?

        • I would rather see d’Arnaud ride the season in AAA and get a call-up in September. Ease him into the position. No point having him ride the pine or to try having him learn all of the minutia of catching the current MLB pitching staff. Spring training is a more suitable environment for that.

          Calls to trade either JPA or d’Arnaud are prematurish. No question d’Arnaud projects to be a better all-around catcher, but he has yet to go through a full season in AAA. Let him earn some spurrs down in Vegas for fuck sakes.

          Also not entirely convinced that d’Arnaud will significantly improve the team defensively. Some scouts who have seen him in AAA like his arm strength (better than JPA) and he is more athletic. But d’Arnaud is also very raw, which could get exposed in a dramatic fashion at the MLB level.

        • Also it’s Las Vegas where a .350 hitter can be the equivalent to Eric Thames and David Cooper in the Major Leagues. There is no rush here.

          • D’Arnaud is an elite prospect and the best catching prospect in baseball. Him hitting the crap out of the ball in Vegas is more due to his skills rather than Vegas.

            Cooper and Thames were never considered to very good. When they hit well it was because it was in large part due to Vegas and inferior pitching.

  18. My guess is JPA is traded within the next year. Given that right now he could be a catcher upgrade for maybe half the teams in the league (give or take), and given that there are a lot of dumb GM’s out there who will look at his 32 homeruns (good for 2nd amongst catchers) and 107 RBIs (1st amongst catchers) over the last two seasons, he seems like a guy who could fetch something good or perhaps even very good if we throw in a prospect or two.

    I disagree with the many people who think it would be best to trade D’Arnaud. While he’s a prospect, he’s a prospect on the cusp of the majors, which is far easier to project than if he was a top prospect in the league at A-ball. That isn’t to say he’s a sure-bet, but considering they gave Arencibia the starting catcher role with less of a pedigree, I would have no problem with D’Arnaud taking over.

  19. You really DO love the Blue Jays after all! I feel like I just found out my parents aren’t really getting divorced. I’ll be sad to see JP go (and a little scared that the flashes he’s shown are real), but you’re totally not wrong about his ability.
    Question: Were the Jays required to use the last option on Lind when they sent him down earlier? Couldn’t they have just thrown him through waivers and saved the option for a rainy day?

  20. Parkes, say fuck more! This is Drunk Jays Fans, for fuck’s sake!

  21. On a completely unrelated note…have any of you seen Aroldis Chapman’s stats lately? If only…

  22. Pretty sure that if a catcher converts to another position, then he will be able to spend more time working on his hitting. He should be able to add 20+pts of average and maybe some more power too.

  23. I think a lot of people have a comfort level with the Devil You Know, which is why there are suggestions to trade TdA. There is no way I see AA and the rest of the Jays brass doing this. As stated here, the 4th highest prospect baseball, there is no way you give him up to another organization “just in case he doesn’t turn out”.

    Sorry to all that love him, but JPA’s time with the Jays is likely short. I like the guy, hes a good person, great in the community, and seems to really fit in with this team and like this city. But at the end of the day its about upgrading your talent on the field. By all accounts, the upgrade is in d’Arnoud.

    Those that want JPA to stay are probably guys who can only watch the game with the girlfriend because she wants to get a glimpse of JPA on camera. Once he’s gone they will be stuck watching America’s Got Talent again.

  24. In this piece you say JP is “a little bit below the average catcher at the plate” while he is tied for 1st in home runs and 5th in RBI as a catcher. I have no idea where that bold statement comes from. Secondly, you suggest recalling Adam Lind in the near future, despite stating that JP would actually “project” better at first base. I frankly found this piece to be rather nonsensical and not based in reality

    • because those stats are a terrible indicator of how good a hitter is – and yet EXACTLY what the Jays are hoping some GM is thinking when AA calls him up. Parkes was entirely correct when he said that he was a little below average tat this point.

    • Yes, but Parkes would platoon Lind with EE/Vlad. Lind would only see RHP, which he can handle better than JPA.

  25. Oh god, the answer is sooooooooo obvious. Make JPA the everyday starter at 3B! Especially since Parkes doesn’t “believe that Brett Lawrie is as good of a baseball player as he is being credited”. Mostly because “he’s been overrated”.

    • You’re a fucking idiot, he didn’t say Lawrie wasn’t good enough to play third in the Bigs, he said Lawrie isn’t as good as fucktards Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler say he is.

  26. I know, I’ll probably get torn apart here for even suggesting this, but I think I like Mathis more than JPA. Sure JPA can hit a homerun or two, but he k’s way too often and his batting avg and OBP have been deplorable for what he offers defensively. IMO, a catchers #1 job is to work well with the pitchers, call a good game, and play good d behind the plate. Look at the way Mathis handled Hutch the other night. I know everyone was blowing Hutch,but Mathis did a great job in that game too. If the Jays call up D’Arnaud, I think it would be short sighted to send Mathis packing. I agree with Stoets, I don’t think J.P can play 1b or dh, so the only alternative I see is to send him packing….Or trade D’Arnaud for another prospect Stud, but that’s another post. :P

  27. Fuck off Parkes. How many cardigans you workin’ with? Have another trip to H&M.

  28. This is a no brainer….D’arnaud is a superstar in the making….A 100% can’t miss…JPA is a nice player but has to go…You don’t ever trade D’Arnaud in this scenario…He will be the best catcher the Jays have ever had 3o minutes after he gets here…Him and Lawire are the future….Bye JP!

  29. What a great problem to have…I don’t see why Arencibia isn’t good enough to be moved to 1B. This team is one big growing pain. Where are we set? 3B, RF, SS…maybe CF? As far as the on field positions go, this team still has a long way to go.

    Move JP to 1B and let him learn the ropes and bring up D’Arnaud to catch. This team is close but still has a way to go. Alternately, I wouldn’t be trading the #4 prospect in baseball for anything right now. Any deal involving Arencibia (yes, I would trade him before I EVEr traded D’Arnaud) would have to be a part of something that brings a top flight pitcher to the Jays (*cough*King Felix*cough*) and nothing else.

  30. And Parkes the East is wide open….Jays are as good as anyone and with trades and promotions will get better…Wake up….Jays fans when it comes to D’Arnaud…Don’t be scared of greatness…8 all star games minimum!

    • He’s ok with them waving the white flag before June has begun. Keep that in mind when you read this dunce’s articles. Ever play a sport Dustin?

  31. Drabek has a BB/9 over 6. And this is even with a couple of very good starts thrown in there.

    He’s shown flashes of brilliance, but he definitely has to be considered disappointing so far.

  32. I can’t tell what people honestly believe anymore, and who is trolling.

    • we’ve become a society of trolls who troll just to burn people we don’t agree with. I don’t think we had this problem 5 or 6 years ago but with the proliferation of meme’s, GIF’s and message board jockeys, it has become the new normal.

  33. Wait a minute. Are you trolling? Was it not you who argued a couple of months ago that the Rangers using (the then-craptacular) Mitch Moreland at first base was smart because they had offensive players all over the diamond and there was no point sinking money into a prototypical 1B?

    The Jays aren’t exactly in the same situation, but they’re employing a similar strategy right now by running David Cooper out there and letting EE/Bautista/JPA/Rasmus handle the power. So as long as you’re employing Cooper – who I don’t mind but with the caveat that he is a singles hitter – the only question is whether d’Arnaud is a better hitter than Cooper at this point. If he is, then you’re not losing anything by playing JPA at first base.

    • Except that Parkes’ alternative is likely better than what you are mentioning. I’d take the DH/1B platoon of Vlad/EE/Lind over EE/Cooper anyday of the week.

      • Vlad changes things. But I’m starting to have the sneaking suspicion that if Snider doesn’t hurry up and get healthy, either Vlad or Edwin is going to see some time in LF.

        For the record, I don’t really disagree that you wouldn’t want Arencibia as an everyday first baseman in an ideal world. But you can’t manage your day-to-day lineups based on some random “this guy doesn’t hit enough to play that position” standard. You try to put your best 9 players on the field, and if that means shuffling a mediocre hitter to a low-spectrum position short-term, there’s nothing wrong with that.

  34. sounds good to me, other than the part about lind! it’s time to let lind go, then pick up a first baseman in the off season!

  35. fuckit, why not. Just leave Lind the fuck alone.

  36. Personally I don’t see the rush to get d’Arnaud up the majors anytime soon. Yes his numbers are looking pretty good right now but we’ve seen the same now from Snider (a couple of times), Thames, Cooper, Lawrie and Gomes. Looking at what Gose and Hechavvaria did at AA and are doing now at AAA is just further proof all those numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt. There was something like a 20% difference in runs per game between the PCL and IL in 2011.

    Yes JP isn’t exactly an on base machine and his walk rate has actually gotten worse this year but he’s sitting at 10th in fWAR for all catchers and 11th in wOBA. His splits show that after a brutal start in April he’s increased his walk rate (very slightly lol) cut his K rate, increased his OBP, and had a .900 ops for the month of May.

    I’m really puzzled by this sudden urge of commenters here to dump guys like EE, Escobar, KJ and JP for unproven minor leaguers or some mystery option this winter. For one we’ve seen how quickly the good PCL numbers turn into below average major league numbers and second, we’ve seen how hard it is to attract talent via free agency to Toronto. As teams have started to lock up their own talent ahead of free agency the talent pool available has gotten smaller thus leading to the greater chance of overpaying for lesser talent that’s become more expensive simply because of limited supply.

    If this team truly wants to contend they need to mix their young players in with the solid everyday players in key spots. Going all rookie at short or 2nd, left, 3rd, 1st and catcher is just going to delay things further and at the end of the day those rookies might not be any better at the major league level than what you already had.

    • Night_manimal, I’ve always enjoyed reading your comments and level headed thinking, and agree once again with most of what you have said here.

      However, if the Jays don’t plan on signing KJ and EE to contract extensions, I think they should deal them while their value is high. I’m not suggesting they trade them for prospects, but try to get the best deal they can. Then again, I also think this isn’t the year to go for it.

      • If this was a situation where money was supposedly a big issue (management tells us it’s not) and the the core group was old and not all that talented then I’d be all for it as well. I just think when you look at their numbers in terms of OPS and in Johnson’s case OPS and defense and see what’s out there you’re only going to take steps back by moving them at this point. The returns you’re going to get for veterans is not going to be what it used to be with this ridiculous CBA. You run the danger of overpaying Johnson for one year to get a draft pick that might turn out to be something in a few years and what you’ll get back for Edwin will also be marginal because A) he’s a free agent and B) the team trading for him will get no compensation when he walks.

        As for this year not being the one to go for it, you’re probably correct as I see 85-86 wins as the max right now. That said, winter upgrades to first or a new DH if EE goes there full time, left, the pen and maybe one more starter for depth and you’ve got a 90 win team on your hands in 2013 with a stronger bench with the likely additions of Hechavvaria as a possible utility guy, d’Arnaud as backup catcher, and maybe Gose as your CF or 4th outfielder. By moving Johnson and EE you go from 3 holes to fill to 5 imo.

        • I think the idea of offering a 1 year 13 million qualifying offer to Johnson may made some sense, this way you are not locked into him long term (which would scare me), and if he doesn’t accept, at least you get the draft picks in return.

          However as for EE, I’m really concerned about the type of contract he will demand and what kind of hitter he will be next year. This is not a Jose Bautista situation because EE doesn’t have anywhere near the plate discipline that Bautista had after his one big year. I may be creating a hole, but I think the team is better off walking away from him, or getting something of value in return now.

          I’m never up for trading a player for the sake of trading, you only make a deal it if you can get something you desire in return and therefore if you can’t get something decent for EE or KJ, and than you keep them both and give them one year qualifying offers.

  37. To me the answer to bringing D’Arnaud up now is simple:

    Trade JPA now, not after sharing time with TD’A (like that?). I don’t see why this is not discussed as an option. Look at it like this:

    JPA has his highest trade value now. If you bring up TD’A (I’m saying it until it sticks) and let him share time then it’s only going to diminish. The contrarian’s point is that the market will make JPA more valuable closer to playoff time, and that is a valid point.

    Right now we’re sitting a couple (1.5?) games out of a wild-card. Well what is this year supposed to mean? I think if we make the playoffs it would be great for experience but it’s still a bit of a long-shot with the Red-Sux doing better and the Yankees still poking around.

    Furthermore, with the stats the Parkes pulls up, why do we assume the TD’A (there it is again) is going to be a downgrade offensively from JPA? Despite JPA’s power, it’s not like he’s an efficient batter…

    That’s my 3 cents.

  38. Dear god the Jays fan base and media is so stupid. JPA bas a 3.1BB% and 26.4%K rate so far this season. He is lucky that he has managed to hit 9 hrs so far this year. Soon enough pitchers will figure him out, and JPA will be another automatic out.. (as if his 272 obp isnt already). I cant think of any hitter ever who has managed to do anything besides suck with those peripherals.

    Can everyone wake up and realize how bad JPA is plz…. TY

    • Well the numbers go against the figuring him out part since he’s had a huge improvement in his May numbers compared to his April numbers. I’m not saying that the walk rate isn’t anything short of horrible but at least when he’s making contact he’s doing damage as his .900 ops for May shows.

      • You obviously did not read what I just said. Who cares whether he has success over 100 ab’s in may. Think in regards to the past 100 years of baseball. Players with peripherals of a 3bb% and 26%k do not succeed in the long-term. Yea sure he could have some short term success hacking at every pitch, and occasionally getting some meat-balls to crank. But in the long run, HE WILL NOT SUCCEED UNLESS HE IMPROVES THOSE PERIPHERALS.

        • Just depends on what you’re definition of success is. Are you talking All-Star caliber or are we talking solid everyday player? I want to see what he can produce when healthy over the course of a year. After all the guy you’re talking about replacing him with doesn’t exactly have stellar peripherals either and those are minor league numbers.

  39. I don’t know why this is never brought up but JP’s splits r ridiculous he’s OPS’ing over .900! Vs LHP and under 700 vs RHP I think him and lind would make a great platoon (I believe he had similar splits last year. On a side note he’s also OPS’ing over .900 in may so I think maybe we should give him a little more time to see what he’s truly made of especially since ZIPS I believe bases future performance on past years and JP was a rookie last year and the last time he repeated a level….just sayin

    • I did bring up his 900 ops for May. Also people have to remember that he had a few hand/wrist injuries last year that caused his numbers to drop off the table starting in June. That’s why a full year of healthy play should go a long way to showing what kind of true hitter he is at the major league level.

      There’s also this notion that what these young guys show at 24 or 25 is all they’re ever going to be. Out of all the teams in the majors we’ve got some really good examples of good and bad showing that this isn’t the case. You’ve got Lind on the bad side who regressed and you’ve got Bautista and EE who improved.

  40. JP cannot be a full-time 1B or DH, but if you don’t want to diminish his value and keep getting him ABs so he can approach 30 HR, to make his value high at the end of the season for an off-season deal, I am fine with him playing there late this season.

  41. This is for those ragging on Drabek.

    He’s had 10 starts this season, 7 good ones where he allowed 2 runs or less and 3 bad ones.

    In the 7 good starts covering 43 innings he had an ERA of 2.30 and a WHIP of 1.26 with 36K’s. Yes he’s probably walked more than he should – 25, but he’s also given up a very tiny amount of hits in those 43 innings – 29, which shows to me that his stuff is actually pretty good.

    In the bad 3 starts with one being truly horrible, covering 12.1 innings he’s had an era of 12.41 giving up 20 hits and 12 walks.

    So looking at his overall performance this year he’s been very good in 70% of his starts regardless of the walks. The one horrible start totally destroyed his ERA by adding 1.28 to it. You could probably argue that if the pen hadn’t been in such desperate straights and a little better defense (talking to you Thames) he wouldn’t have been out there for so many of those earned runs. FIP obviously isn’t kind to him because of the walks but as a high groundball pitcher which he has been this year, FIP never is. There might be some regression but even then the ERA is going to be skewed because of the one really bad start.

  42. Since when does one blow-out in Texas of all places constitute a disappointment? Do you people not remember Doc Halladay’s first two years in this city? Honestly, people… Drabek needs a full year in the majors under his belt before I’ll judge whether he’s a bust.

  43. .

    • Yes JPA doesn’t profile as a “good” 1B/DH however is he not better then Mathis as the back up Catcher?

      Thus if he starts at Catcher 65times, 1B 25 times, DH 15 times and then he is a servicable bat off the bench, is he not worth it?

      In 65 games he is a huge improvement. 25 games he is middle of the pack and 15 he is the worst. Not to mention that is still and adequate bat to have coming off the bench. Not to mention less games at catcher means he isn’t as dinged up thus you can expect marginal increases in his numbers. (ie bruised hands, dead legs from squatting, etc)

  44. The issue: Does the team keep JPA or d’Arnaud?

    This article (and all the debate) should also be tagged under “1st world problems”.

    • Yep it’s a nice problem to have and with injuries happening out of the blue it never hurts to have depth. Texas gets mentioned all the time for their system depth at starting pitching yet I don’t hear the howls to trade that depth away.

    • I really don’t think this is an issue because they can keep both. At least for a couple of years.

  45. Another cookie cutter post from Dustin Parkes.


  46. Holy shit Dustin, you get worse and worse. Drabek is further ahead then Halladay was at the same point in their career’s. That Texas game wasn’t as bad as you think, Halladay had much worse starts during his first real taste of the league. Just like Romero Lately, they walk themselves into jam’s. He beat himself, when he fixes his overall control he will be amazing. No matter how good Travis looks, Arencibia has worked very well with the staff, he and all of our youth are learning to win and lose together. Bringing in Travis just means another couple of years for he and our young staff to get in tune with each other. Arencibia hits very well with runners on and is a RBI machine in the making, most of his HR’S are with runners on. I dont want to replace that for a prospect who may or may not be the real deal!

  47. People keep talking about TDA’s stats this year and referring to small sample sizes and PCL stats being skewed. I think it is being overlooked that TDA was the damn MVP of the AA Eastern League last year with a slash line of .371/.542/.914 compare that to the AA slash line of JPA in the same league .302/.498/.798. Also, TDA was named the best defensive catcher in the Eastern League.

    I mean jesus christ those stats and accolades are mind boggling. No one ever considered JPA to be anywhere near that levelhis coming through the minors.

    I like JPA and think he is a nice solid catcher but he is never going to be anything other than what he is now. He swings at too many pitches and his OBP is dreadful (and always has been dreadful even in the minors).

    By comparison TDA has a the ceiling of a superstar and I don’t believe there is anyway possible looking at the minor league stats that he turns out as a worse catcher than JPA.

    So no you do not trade TDA and keep JPA. That would be a horrendous decision.

  48. This issue is a constant debate amongst my Jays circle (taking up an hour of early morning shit talking at a recent bachelor party) and the whole thing comes down to this:

    D’Arnaud is the way of the future. The only reason this is a debate is because JP has made himself integral to the image and community of the team. The TeamUnit ballyhoo, the whimsical interviews, the female boners he gives… all well and dandy, but if you don’t give me an OPS of .850 GTFO my corner infield or DH.

    JP goes nowhere this year and Travis stays in Vegas until September. This story won’t be broached until December at the earliest or kick into high gear until pitchers and catchers report in Mid-Feb and there is nothing else to talk about.

    Also: Call Lind up? Srsly? Fuck me.

  49. Wait, didn’t Roy Halladay have some bad outings in his early seasons??? What a bust he was!
    “end sarcasm”

    Drabek is 24!!! Surely it can be frustrating sometimes watching him pitch and not being able to find the strike zone, but he will sort it out. He’s had some very good starts this year and has been pretty consistent. Even RR is having a hard time finding the strike zone.

  50. Turn JPA into a 3B, move Lawrie to 2nd, trade Escobar and Johnson at the deadline, bring up Hechavarria, and D’Arnaud. I am also of the opinion that you deal Encarnacion at the deadline as well – his value will never be higher, you have a log jam at DH and 1B/3B with Cooper and Gomes, and he is a FA at the end of the year anyway.

  51. Yes he could play 1B not hard, but like you said would be below avg first basemen.
    What’s forgotten in this is that Jp wouldn’t want to play 1B and would refuse to , like Johnson wouldn’t play LF.
    Jp might not hit for a high avg, or ge ton base that much but he’s a catcher and as worked hard at it since he was young and would not move to another postion this early in his career.
    Tons of teams would come calling for a 20 HR catcher, every catcher is below avg on offense compaired to other palyers at different positons, since Travis is in triple A what’s to say he’s that much better at the Major league level then JP.
    Tons of top prospects fade in the show look at Mathis.

    • Yes many prospects fail in MLB but you really can’t compare Mathis to D’Arnaud. Mathis was a big time prospect more because of his defense than his offense. If you compare the minor league stats of Mathis and D’Arnaud there is no comparison.

      My belief is that given the minor league stats and scout evaluations the worst case scenario for D’Arnaud is to be as good as JPA.

  52. With the way D’Arnaud is raking at Vegas I think the Jays might be forced to make a move before September. If he keeps hitting like this through June and JPA continues to swing at everything thrown to him I think you have to give the kid a shot.

    He is starting to dominate AAA like Lawrie was last year.

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