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Blue Jays prospect Travis d’Arnaud needs thumb surgery

Oct 16, 2011, 9:32 AM EDT

d'arnaud pose getty Getty Images

According to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, Blue Jays prospect Travis d’Arnaud tore ligaments in his thumb while serving as Team USA’s catcher at the 39th Baseball World Cup in Panama and has headed home to undergo a surgical procedure.

Acquired in a package for Roy Halladay back in December of 2009, d’Arnaud batted .311 with a .914 OPS, 33 doubles, 21 home runs and 78 RBI in 114 games this season at Double-A New Hampshire.

He carries serious major league upside and should make the climb to Triple-A Las Vegas at some point next year if his recovery from thumb surgery goes as smoothly as expected.

The experts at Baseball America ranked d’Arnaud as the game’s 36th most promising prospect last winter. The 22-year-old from Long Beach, California should be even higher on this offseason’s lists.

  1. proudlycanadian - Oct 16, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    At Manchester NH, he was the MVP of his Double A league last season and is expected to catch in Triple A next season. He is highly skilled behind the plate and was tutored by Sal Fasano last year.

  2. Mark - Oct 16, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    The sooner he’s up the better. Arencibia is one of the worst offensive C’s thanks to his sub 300 OBP. But because he hits a lot of homers everybody likes him. Unfortunately that’s all he does and with his sub-par defense the Jays would be better off flipping him before 2013 so D’Arnauld can take over.

    • cur68 - Oct 16, 2011 at 2:39 PM

      Easy does it Mark; Arencebia’s a rook. He’s still on a steep learning curve. If he’s smart, and I think he is, he’ll spend the off season practicing with a choked up grip and a flatter, shorter swing. If he’s still has a lousy OBP by the mid 2012 season then trade him, probably for pitching. Alternatively, they might just harness all that power and turn it into RBI production by putting a couple of speedy guys ahead of him. His defence should be greatly improved by hanging around with Jose Molina; if you can’t learn anything by watching the slightly less fat Molina @ catcher, then you are unteachable IMO. If D’Arnaud comes up and has to sit and watch Molina & Arencebia, it won’t do him any harm, especially if he gets into a few games a la Jesus Montero.

      • Mark - Oct 16, 2011 at 3:11 PM

        Learning curve or not this is not a guy who is ever going to hit for a good average. Or post a good OBP because he doesn’t walk. As a flyball hitter, he’s going to post lower BABIP’s as we know flyballs are easier to catch than grounders. Combined with the high K rate, we can safely say his peak is in the 250-260 range.

        Let’s say he hits 250, maintains his walk rate and posts a 320 OBP and slugs 460 (keeping the ISO he has now). That’s still significantly less valuable than what D’Arnauld would do, mostly due to the OBP advantage he’ll hold over Arencibia.

        I’d take a drop in power if it meant a boost in OBP/defense in a heart beat.

        By the way, power is wasted with speed threads in front. Why risk stealing second base when you’ve got a 30 HR bat? Speed is best used with guys who DON’T hit for power, as every base is that much more important. It’s why stealing in front of Bautista or Lawrie has less value than say, stealing in front of Escobar.

        And let’s not even get started on why getting RBI’s isn’t relevant to Arencibia’s offensive skills.

        Read what I said carefully. I didn’t say flip Arencibia NOW, I said trade him before 2013 when D’Arnauld has a year of AAA under his belt. There’s no question he’s the better guy going forward.

      • Mark - Oct 16, 2011 at 3:13 PM

        That should say speed threats. Ugh. Spelling fail.

      • cur68 - Oct 16, 2011 at 3:40 PM

        Speed = bunt to get on base then mess with the pitcher so he makes a mistake and leaves one up for you golf-swing batter. Its not all about stealing bases, but that too becomes a factor when we look at the potential for long fly outs = RBIs vs just an out with, say, old glue pot on the basepaths. A speedy guy; the gift with ramifications.

        Also; I did say he needs to flatten the swing and choke up on the bat a bit. This will turn him into a drive hitter and increase his contact %. In other words he’ll hit a lot more grounders. I bet we’ll also see his BA north of 250, but so what if it isn’t? If he’s raking the RBIs and homers, who cares about BA? See Howard, Ryan for what I mean.

        Frankly though, I disagree with ditching Arencebia for a dude with no major league cred. You really want to bail on 20+ homers? A guy with that much power can do lots of little things to get his contact-to-line-drive-the-ball up. I’ve mentioned 2 of the easiest. The alterations will reduce the length of his homers but once it’s over the fence, who else but the hi-lite guys cares how many seats deep? D’Arnaud needs to demonstrate that his gaudy minor league numbers translate against Major League pitching. Give him a half season to see what he does, then make a decision. I say turn the worse of those 2 guys into pitching, if at all possible. Do it by the all star break to make a serious run for the post season.

      • Old Gator - Oct 16, 2011 at 4:40 PM

        You know what? It’s a rainy Sunday in Macondo, a gray, dismal rainy Sunday; no team that interests me as much as rug hooking or cleaning out the raingutters is left playing in the postseason; the guy who was supposed to be here this morning to finish laying the tile floor in the hallway called in late with some cockamamie excuse, which means another day of keeping the dogs locked out in the yard tomorrow, and I really felt like piling on someone today and a rookie catcher would have made a terrific weltschmerz.

        However, today is also the first day of stone crab season, which makes me smile hugely, so Arencibia catches a break.

      • Mark - Oct 16, 2011 at 5:39 PM

        A speedy guy is helpful for that, yes. But to get the most out of the speed guy you put him in front of a singles hitter. A guy like Escobar is likely to hit singles or doubles, so if the runner is in scoring position it’s more likely he’ll score on a single. With Bautista/Lawrie, they’re more likely to score from 1st cause they hit a ton of 2B/HR, so that’s why speed (stealing or otherwise) is wasted in front of them.

        As for Ryan Howard – not sure that’s the example you want to make. The guy who is considered to have one of the worst contracts because he was overpaid specifically cause of the HR/RBI’s, despite the fact he is a declining 1B and not even top 5 anymore. While you may not care if Arencibia is getting RBI’s and failing to get on base, I do. The object of baseball is to score, and you do that best by not getting out. Not only does that help you score, but it lets the guy behind you drive you in. Win/win for everybody.

        The reason you flip Arencibia is simply because of depth. Jays have a ton of catching depth, and an overrated asset. They can turn that into pitching, as catchers like Arencibia who drive in runs are overvalued because of the fantasy baseball stats. And they’ll have a guy ready to step in.

  3. dirtyharry1971 - Oct 16, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    another overhyped bluegay’s prospect, see drabeck, snyder for most recent examples

    • Old Gator - Oct 16, 2011 at 12:35 PM

      Was there some reason you threw in that gratuitous sexual orientation slur, or do you just do that kind of thing out of mindless reflexivity?

    • dondada10 - Oct 16, 2011 at 2:12 PM

      Your own self-aggression over your confusing sexual identity is showing.

    • cur68 - Oct 16, 2011 at 2:27 PM

      Now now fellas, give old ‘harry a break. He’s doing his best with the hand he’s been dealt, y’know. We should all be grateful for our complete faculties and a clean rap sheet.

      As for you ‘harry, better make sure you kept a receipt for that computer, eh? Your probation officer might be asking some sticky questions if you can’t deliver, y’knowwhatImean? Meantime, lay off the cheap stuff; its rotting what little Mother Nature gave you.

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