Report: Blue Jays’ Arencibia to Stop Walking in 2014


TORONTO — Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia walked 18 times in 497 plate appearances in 138 games in 2013, his walk rate dropping to 3.6 percent, less than half the 7.4 percent he posted in his rookie year in 2011. And the 27-year-old is continuing to adjust: he’s hoping to eliminate walking entirely from his game in 2014.

“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.”

For Arencibia, who hit 21 home runs and drove in 55 runs for Toronto this past season, and who’s fourth among major-league catchers with 62 home runs since 2011, the pros of not walking outweigh the cons.

“It’s one less thing I have to talk about, you know? If I vow to not take a walk and it happens, it’s a bonus, the way I see it. I mean, it’s impossible to keep everyone satisfied, so hopefully this will help.”

Arencibia walked only five times in 173 plate appearance after this summer’s All-Star break. He wants to bring that same second-half approach to spring training.

“I think I walked twice in August and twice in September. If I come into next year with a similar mindset, I think getting to zero — not walking at all — is definitely a possibility.”

Before you start, Arencibia’s not interested in hearing about on-base percentage, or plate discipline. In fact, he believes he’s practicing plate discipline in his own right:

“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.”

Arencibia was the target of intense criticism from fans and media in Toronto after posting a .227 on-base percentage in 2013, the lowest ever among catchers who had at least 450 plate appearances in a season — he made history. But he’s comfortable with who he is as a hitter after, admittedly, the most difficult year of his career.

“I am what I am up there,” Arencibia said, “and I’m going to embrace that. How can I hit a home run, or drive in runs, if I’m up there looking to take a walk?”

He’s right. He can’t.

Image credit: Brad White/Getty Images

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Navin Vaswani is a replacement-level writer. Follow him on Twitter.

17 Responses to “Report: Blue Jays’ Arencibia to Stop Walking in 2014”

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  1. Surine says:

    It’s for the best.

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  2. Purple Jesus says:

    you know , not walking ever would be fine if you could fucking hit a little bit more in the 260 270 range instead of .209! JPA is a headache to watch and an even bigger headache to listen to

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  3. NK says:

    If I had a dollar for every single pitch in the dirt and extremely far out of the strikezone JPA would strike out on, I’d be a billionaire.

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  4. Andre says:

    JP’s also trying to eliminate proper semi-colon usage, I see.

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  5. Max says:

    There’s a Dusty Baker joke in this article

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  6. MSpitz says:

    I thought this was NotGraphs???

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  7. The Colonel says:

    He’s hired Alfredo Griffin to work with him in the off-season.

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  8. Terrible Ted says:

    He should have kids with Votto.

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  9. Mike Green says:

    It’s amazing how much power you can generate when you roll your ankle. Also helps with the “not walking” part.

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  10. Tim says:

    Astonishingly, he’s only fourth among all players with 450 PAs. Though the other three were in 1886 and 1968 so probably shouldn’t count.

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  11. Poopypants says:

    Oddly his unwillingness to take a walk to first significantly increases the amount of times he takes a walk back to the dugout

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  12. Grant says:

    As a not graphs article was really expected some sort of photoshop, either in a wheelchair doing something, or maybe forest gump running accross america. Not so much as actual things going on. Still was funny because its true.

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  13. Matt says:

    For all his bluster that he would catch R.A. Dickey at the start of the year, I’m betting that Arencibia is quite glad now that the experiment was a colossal failure. By not catching the games pitched by Dickey or Esmil Rogers in the final week of the season, J.P. fell like 6 PAs short of qualifying for the batting title and narrowly avoided going into the history books as the second worst single-season OBP of the last century.

    Worse when you consider that the one guy ahead of him In the “Not-Making-Outs Hall of Shameâ„¢” (Hal Lanier in 1968) at least had his defence to excuse his being awful with the bat. JP doesn’t have anything to fall back on except his bawling that the media is mean to him and not teaching Blue Jays fans to cheer for his HRs like a bunch of sheep.

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