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Arencibia isn't so terrible after all

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Toronto catcher J.P. Arencibia set the standard for awful in early April, batting .062 in his first 32 at-bats and likely causing many owners to abandon ship quickly.

However, after looking like a duplicate of Henry Blanco at the plate for two weeks, Arencibia suddenly started hitting, and hitting, and hitting.

As a result, he's looked more like a mid-90s Mike Piazza since the middle of April.

And yet, he remains owned in just 61 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Sure, that number may begin to climb after Arencibia hit four homers and had 10 RBIs in the last three games prior to Saturday, but his resurgence goes back much further than that.

Since April 19, Arencibia has a .321 batting average (27-for-84) with six homers and 21 RBIs.

In the last 30 days, the Toronto catcher is ranked No. 29 overall in Yahoo! leagues, second among catchers.

And though his average is still just .259 overall, his recent surge has elevated him to third among catchers for the entire season -- ahead of Carlos Santana, Matt Wieters, Brian McCann and Mike Napoli.

Now, Arencibia's overall average won't get much higher than .259, but the pop is real.

The former first-round pick hit 23 bombs in 443 at-bats a season ago. He also accumulated 83 homers in 409 career minor league games.

Arencibia's hot streak has gotten him promoted to a prime spot in the batting order as well. He hit either eighth or ninth in 28 of the first 29 games, but four games ago he moved up to seventh, and in the last three he's hit fifth, right behind sluggers Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.

Though the catching position has had some surprises due to the emergence of Carlos Ruiz, Yadier Molina, A.J. Pierzynski, Wieters, A.J. Ellis and Jonathan Lucroy, Arencibia needs to be picked up, at least in the interim.

Many of the preseason's top ranked catchers have struggled for much of the season, and even those who have produced, like Buster Posey, haven't been fantasy superstars, so there should be a place for Arencibia on many teams.

Those who consider themselves scorned by Arencibia need to get over his early season swoon and reacquire him from the scrap heap onto which they callously cast him a month ago.

And while you're at it, thank your lucky stars that none of your fellow owners realized what a stud Arencibia has been for the past 30 days.

Right now, the only fantasy owner who really has an excuse to not add Arencibia is Eric Mirlis, the New York radio host who got into it with the Blue Jays catcher on Twitter. Mirlis pointed out in mid-April that Arencibia was ranked lower than Michael Morse and Victor Martinez even though the latter two had yet to play a game. Arencibia responded by telling the not-so-slim Mirlis to "have one more donut," which is ironic considering all of the donuts Arencibia had provided fantasy owners up to the point with his many 0-fers.

Due to that insult, we wouldn't blame Mirlis if he didn't want to stare at Arencibia's name every day, but everyone else should be happy to pencil the Blue Jays backstop into their lineup going forward.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.


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