San Francisco Giants: Can “The Kid” Win Rookie of the Year?
By Michael Saltzman
Christian Arroyo has burst onto the scene for the San Francisco Giants. At 21, he is one of the youngest players in Major League Baseball.
Christian Arroyo, better known as “The Kid” to fans, made an immediate impact on the club. While the San Francisco Giants have suffered to the worst record in baseball, they have also won multiple games because of the team’s top prospect.
“The Kid” began his Major League career winning the hearts of Giants fans before he even stepped into the batter’s box.
Arroyo was offered the number 22 to wear and knowing the significance of that number, he went to see former Giants great Will Clark to ask his permission to wear it. Will “The Thrill” told “The Kid” he could wear it.
When asked about it, Arroyo told reporters “(Clark) told me I could have it because there’s hits in it.”
Then Arroyo started playing and it didn’t take long for his bat and ever his glove to show Giants fans why he made it to the big leagues so quickly.
In the second game of his career, Arroyo connected on the first pitch he saw from Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw for his first major league hit.
Then, the following night, Arroyo hit a two run home run off former Giants closer Sergio Romo. That set up the heroics from Michael Morse and a much needed Giants win.
His second home run came in a 3-3 game in the eighth inning against the San Diego Padres. It was a huge statement that Arroyo wasn’t going back to Triple-A anytime soon.
All this time being asked to face elite pitching at the major league level, he is also being asked to play out of position. A natural shortstop, Arroyo is playing mostly third base for the Giants. It hasn’t seemed to be an issue either in the early going.
Ultimately, the Giants win in New York that included a bases clearing double from “The Kid” is the best example of the impact he is having on this team, this organization and this fanbase.
Arroyo’s main competition for the Rookie of the Year award is Dodgers top prospect Cody Bellinger. Bellinger and Arroyo, much like the teams they play for, could very well be a long time rivalry in the making. Bellinger was called up a day after Arroyo and faced each other in his first game.
Fun Fact: Arroyo’s first major league hit was a base hit to left field, which was fielded by Bellinger. Bellinger’s first major league hit was an infield single fielded by Arroyo.
The Giants have become a much older team than the one that won the World Series in 2014. A lot of the same faces are still here, but they are all three years older. Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, Hunter Pence, and Madison Bumgarner are still the core, but that core has struggled to play well consistently and stay healthy.
Bumgarner’s now infamous dirt bike accident is the worst outcome so far this season, but both Posey and Crawford have also missed significant time in the early part of the season.
This core shouldn’t be slowing down, and maybe this is just a bad start to the season. However, after seeing the Giants struggle for the entire second half of 2016 as well, fans have become worried that this team is missing the pieces necessary to compete for another postseason appearance.
That is why Arroyo’s instant emergence as an everyday player has been so exciting for fans.
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In the long history of San Francisco Giants baseball, only five players have won the Rookie of the Year award in the National League. In the team’s first two seasons in San Francisco, Orlando Cepeda and Willie McCovey won the awards in consecutive years.
Then, in 1973 and 1975, Gary Matthews and John Montefusco each won the award. It wasn’t until 2010 when Posey won the award that another Giants player was honored.
The Giants have had many homegrown talents from Clark, Robby Thompson and Matt Williams, to Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Pablo Sandoval, Bumgarner, Crawford, Belt and Panik, among others. In 2015, Giants rookies Matt Duffy and Chris Heston both received votes, but lost out to rookie phenom Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs.
Arroyo has a chance to become just the sixth Giant in team history to win the Rookie of the Year award.
Next: Giants Lose Again to Cincinnati
Will Christian Arroyo be the next Giants player to win the award? In a season that has started so cold, this just might be the igniter.