Former Tennessee All-American and current Toronto Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia has been named the American League Player of the Week after hitting .360 with four home runs, 10 RBIs and seven runs scored over six games.
The first Blue Jays catcher to ever win the award, Arencibia paced the A.L. with a .920 slugging percentage and ranked fourth with 23 total bases while adding two doubles and a walk.
He is the first former Vol to claim player of the week honors from Major League Baseball since Todd Helton took home National League accolades on Sept. 26, 2005.
On Wednesday, the Miami, Fla., 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, he 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.
The 26-year-old backstop, 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. Arencibia recorded two home runs and a career-high six RBIs in the contest, eclipsing his previous best of five RBI on April 1, 2011, against the Twins. The two home runs marked his fourth career multi-homer game and gave him a home run in three consecutive games for the first time in his career.
Former Tennessee teammate Yan Gomes also belted his first career longball in that contest, just his second Major League game after being called up by the Blue Jays on Thursday. It marked the first time the two UT products had hit a home run in the same game since the final day of the 2007 regular season when the Vols clinched a spot in the SEC Tournament with an 11-7 win over Florida in Gainesville (BOX SCORE).
Arencibia closed the week with a 2-for-5 performance, including a double, in a 6-5 loss to the Mets on Sunday. 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).
Tennessee is tied with Ole Miss for the lead among SEC schools with six former players currently at the Major League level.