San Francisco Giants: Prospect Watch- Christian Arroyo
By Sean O'Leary
The San Francisco Giants have never had a stacked farm system, but they have always had nice players in the system. Players like Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford have come up through the system and been studs at the big league level.
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Unfortunately, that is going to be a problem for one of the top prospects in the farm; Christian Arroyo, who is the best middle infield, and frankly the best position player prospect in the Giants system. He is going to have to go through some obstacles in order to become an everyday starter for the Giants.
Arroyo was drafted out of high school with the 25th overall pick in the 2013 draft. He burst onto the scene in the Rookie League in 2013, winning MVP honors of that league. He hit .326/.388/.511 with 2 homers and 39 RBI in only 45 games. He showed off a little more power in 2014, hitting .291/.330/.404 with 6 homers and 62 RBI, and that was his down year so far. In 2015, he hit .304/.344/.459, with 9 homers and 42 RBI. He has been a sort of up and down player his three seasons in the minors, but it is a really good up and down.
Arroyo has never played 100+ games in his 3 seasons in the minors, but he would have last year if not for being put on the 7 day DL in April.
He is only 20, so he has plenty of time to develop. He is 6’1″ and 180 lbs, so he isn’t the biggest buy out there. He has a fantastic eye at the plate, a nice swing and it just a pure good hitter. He is a Joe Panik like hitter, with a smooth swing and he is just a good hitter. He has some pop, and can hit 15 homers a year at his best. He is never going to be a big power guy in the middle infield, and probably the top of the lineup. He has a good arm, but many scouts doubt his ability to play shortstop due to the fact that he isn’t the most athletic player, and doesn’t have great speed. He would probably be a better third baseman than shortstop in the future.
Arroyo may have some struggles in his next few years in the organization. Yes, he is the best position player in the system along with Lucius Fox, but he has road blocks. He has two All-Stars ahead of him in Crawford and Panik. Scouts think he doesn’t have the athleticism and the range to play short, so he may not have to worry about that. There’s also no way that the Giants will move their All-Star and gold glove winning shortstop for Arroyo. As for second base, if he comes back from his back injury 100%, then Panik will have that spot locked up for years to come.
The only real shot that Arroyo has is at 3rd base. Duffy, who finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, had a great year in 2015. However, he wasn’t the prospect that Arroyo is and what he did last year was very shocking. He was barely making the team, and he had McGehee in front of him. It’s a mystery whether he can sustain that production. Duffy will no doubt start off with the 3rd base job in 2016, but Arroyo can prove himself in Spring Training, make the team and fight it out with Duffy. Don’t get me wrong, i love Matt Duffy, but Christian Arroyo has a larger ceiling, so it wouldn’t stun me if Arroyo ends up with the job in a year or two.
Next: Gillaspie Has Good Chance At Roster Spot
Christian Arroyo is a very good player. He is a pure hitter, a good defender, and a prototypical Giants player. He is very Joe Panik-esque and is a lot like Matt Duffy as well. Although he will have to go through obstacles to become an everyday player, Arroyo is very young, and still has plenty of time. With that being said, keep and eye on him during Spring Training, and in the minors because he is a special player and he is going to be fun to watch.