SF Giants: Former Infield Prospect Finally Getting to Chance to Play
By Jeff Young
Former SF Giants prospect Christian Arroyo is finally getting an extended look with the Boston Red Sox.
The SF Giants drafted Christian Arroyo out of Hernando High School in Brooksville, Florida in the first round of the 2013 draft. As a top draftee, expectations were lofty for the middle infielder, especially as he appeared on many top prospect lists, including being ranked the 62nd best prospect in baseball by Baseball America prior to the 2016 season.
Arroyo made a gradual ascent through the minor league ranks before debuting with the Giants in 2017. Across 7 minor league seasons, the right-handed bat slashed a .293/.340/.435 line with 34 home runs and 257 RBI.
Like many prospects, Arroyo struggled in his rookie season. With the Giants, posting a .192/.244/.304 (44 OPS+) in 135 plate appearances. Despite the struggles at the plate, Arroyo flashed a solid glove and good instincts as he saw time at second base, shortstop, and third base.
Little did we know at the time, that would be Arroyo’s only appearance with the Giants. in December of that year, Arroyo was part of the Giants package to acquire Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays.
With the Rays boasting a stacked infield. Arroyo struggled to break through in two seasons with Tampa Bay. He did, however, produce a respectable .710 OPS (93 OPS+) across 116 plate appearances before being placed on waivers due to a roster squeeze.
The Cleveland Indians placed a claim on the middle infielder, but he only received one plate appearance before going through the waiver circuit again.
His positional flexibility and prospect pedigree still held appeal on waivers and the Red Sox made a claim. Red Sox president of baseball operations Chaim Bloom was familiar with Arroyo going back to their days with the Rays.
Interestingly, the Red Sox placed Arroyo back on waivers without even appearing with the club. Surprisingly, he went unclaimed and remained in the Red Sox organization. As Boston’s depth thinned out this season, Arroyo was added back to the major league roster.
Since then, the 25-year-old has done well in a small sample. In 44 plate appearances, the right-handed bat has generated a .275/.341/.525 line (129 OPS+) with three home runs and eight RBI while being worth 0.4 WAR.
Arroyo has seen time at third base but has spent the bulk of his time at second base. The defensive metrics, albeit in a small sample, like his work with the glove as he has been worth 2 DRS and 0.7 UZR.
As the Red Sox remain amidst a rebuild, they will need quality players like Arroyo to keep the ship sailing. To his credit, Arroyo is picking a really good time to produce.
Boston seems to be in an aggressive cost-cutting mode and could try to trade away shortstop Xander Bogaerts and the remaining five years and $100 million remaining on the extension he signed back in 2019. On top of this, the Red Sox could see third baseman, Rafael Devers, as an attractive trade chip.
If either of these players are moved, playing time in the Red Sox infield could begin to open up and that would bode well for Arroyo. Still, second base has been a revolving door for Boston over the past few years. Arroyo has an opportunity to earn a permanent spot even if Devers and Bogaerts stay in place.
Christian Arroyo’s time with the Red Sox is hopefully the starting point of an extensive look that the former SF Giants prospect has not received. He has done well so far, and with where Boston is in the competitive cycle, he should continue to get a look next year. Hopefully, the former first-round pick can finally achieve his ceiling.