Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia has been named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending May 20th. This is J.P.’s first career weekly honor and it marks the first time ever that a Blue Jays catcher has won the award. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
In six games last week, Arencibia batted .360 (9-for-25) and tied for the A.L. lead with four home runs, 10 RBI and seven runs scored. The 26-year-old backstop paced the A.L. with a .920 slugging percentage and ranked fourth with 23 total bases while adding two doubles and a walk. On Wednesday, May 16th, the Miami, Florida native went 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, two RBI and two runs scored in Toronto’s 8-1 victory over the New York Yankees at the Rogers Centre. The next night, the University of Tennessee product went 1-for-4 and homered again in a 4-1 win to lift the Blue Jays to a two-game sweep of the Yankees. Arencibia, who was selected by the Blue Jays with the 21st overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, continued his hot hitting against New York Clubs with his 3-for-5 performance on Friday at home against the Mets. J.P. recorded two home runs and a career-high six RBI in the contest, eclipsing his previous best of five RBI on April 1, 2011, when the Blue Jays hosted the Minnesota Twins. The two home runs marked his fourth career multi-homer game, which he also accomplished on July 22, 2011 at Texas; April 1, 2011 vs. Minnesota; and August 7, 2010 vs. Tampa Bay. With the multi-homer effort, Arencibia connected for home runs in three consecutive games for the first time in his career. He had previously homered in consecutive contests on September 7-8, 2011 vs. Boston, and on July 22-23, 2011 at Texas. Arencibia closed the week on Sunday with a 2-for-5 performance, including a double, in a 6-5 loss to the Mets. The right-handed hitting slugger is now batting .256 on the season with seven home runs, seven doubles and 26 RBI. Among A.L. catchers, he ranks second in RBI and slugging percentage (.504); tied for second in home runs and runs scored (17); third in extra-base hits (14); and fourth in total bases (59).
Other noteworthy performances last week included Dayan Viciedo (.444, 4 HR, 10 RBI, .889 SLG) of the Chicago White Sox; Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones (.387, 4 HR, 8 RBI, 1 2B, .806 SLG); Detroit Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder (.464, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 5 2B, .857 SLG); Boston Red Sox pitchers Josh Beckett (2-0, 0.61 ERA, 14.2 IP, 4 BB, 14 SO) and Jon Lester (2-0, 3.00 ERA, 1 CG, 15.0 IP, 1 BB, 9 SO); and Kansas City Royals pitcher Bruce Chen (2-0, 2.08 ERA, 13.0 IP, 4 BB, 11 SO).
In recognition of his American League Player of the Week Award, J.P. Arencibia will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.