J.P. Arencibia is receiving plenty of attention lately for his power surge (24 HR in A+ & AA) and his batters eye (13 BB in 428 AB.) While the home runs are impressive, the walk ratio is downright terrifying and will serve as an albatross around his neck as he moves up the ladder.
Take a look at these K/BB splits by level;
Rk - 56/14
A+ - 46/11
AA - 37/2
In comparison, baseball's most notorious "OBP offender," Jeff Francoeur, held a K/BB ratio of 264/89 or just less than 3 to 1 during his minor league career while Arencibia's currently sits at more than 5 to 1. One might say that Francoeur is an example of a player who overcame such bad ratios early on and achieved great success, but remember, Francoeur debuted for the Braves at 21 with Arencibia currently 22 and in AA. From age alone, common sense says Francoeur is a more talented player. Additionally, Arencibia's ratios should only get worse with each level. One has to wonder just how effective a player in the bigs with a six or seven to one K/BB ratio? I found a few players who give a good indication. I say only a few because the sample size of everyday major leaguers posting such poor ratios is minuscule.
Adam Jones - .279/.320 @ 4.8/1
Jose Guillen - .259/.290 @ 5.7/1
Kevin Kouzmanoff - .270/.311 @ 5.9/1
Carlos Gomez - .257/.291 @ 6.2/1
Power aside, Arencibia can be expected to post a line of .265/.290 or so at the big league level with his current K/BB rate. For those numbers to support any fantasy significance, he needs to post at least a .450 slugging percentage which would put him in the company of only Brian McCann, Joe Mauer and Geovany Soto among current catchers. Other than Matt Wieters, I'm not sure I have that kind of confidence in any current minor league catching prospects.