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Happy Birthday J.P. Arencibia

Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Brad White/Getty Images

Former Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia turns 38 today.

Arencibia was a first-round draft pick by the Jays in the 2004 draft, number 21 overall. He quickly became our top prospect and hit #43 on Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list before the 2009 season.

Then, he came up to the Jays and played his first MLB game on August 7th, 2010, and it couldn’t have gone better. He went 4 for 5, with 2 home runs and a double. We thought we had our catcher for the next ten years.

It didn’t work out that way. He had more trouble with the bat than we thought he would, and he took those troubles with him behind the plate.

JP played four seasons with the Jays. He hit .212/.258/.408 in 380 games. Over the years, we talked too much about his shortcomings, but he seemed like a good guy. He was great with fans and great with kids.

He came to Calgary with the Jays’ winter tour several years ago, and I got to talk to him a little bit, and he was very nice. I didn’t notice how good-looking he was until later when I saw pictures that a friend of mine took for me, and I noticed how many pictures she took of JP.

From the Jays, he went to the Rays (and had a poor year) and then the Rangers (and hit well, .310, but in 73 PA). Then he played in the Phillies and the Rays systems but didn’t return to the majors.

Since then, he’s worked as an analyst for Marlin games (I thought he was pretty good in the role). He married and divorced Kimberly Perry of the Band Perry (who wrote a song that wasn’t very complimentary about JP) and has married Fox broadcaster Tomi Lahren (who, to my knowledge, hasn’t written a song about him).

Happy Birthday. JP.

Nori Aoki turns 42 today.

Aoki was a Blue Jay for all of 12 games. He and Teoscar Hernandez from the Astros trade for Francisco Liriano came to us. A trade that worked out very well for us.

Aoki played 6 seasons in the MLB, hitting .285/.350/.387 with 33 home runs in 758 games.

Happy Birthday, Nori.

Kevin Witt turns 48 today.

Witt was our first-round pick in the 1994 draft.

Like JP, he didn’t live up to the hype. He played 20 games for the Jays over two seasons. hitting .195/.233/.293.

He’d go on to play a few games for the Padres, some more for the Tigers and then a few for the Rays.

In his career, he hit .233/.267/.376 in 146 games, mainly as a DH.

Happy Birthday, Kevin.

AJ Cole turns 32 today.

Cole played in 30 games for us in 2020 and 2021 at the end of a 7-year career, and I remember almost nothing about him.

In his seven seasons, he pitched in 109 games, 19 starts with a 4.51 ERA.

Happy Birthday, AJ.