SF Giants former prospect Christian Arroyo thriving in new role
By Jeff Young
Not long ago, former SF Giants first-round pick Christian Arroyo was slated to be a staple in San Francisco’s lineup. Things did not go as planned, but the infielder appears to be finally finding his footing with the Boston Red Sox. Arroyo joined the Red Sox last season and took advantage of consistent playing time. Now, he is showing strong success in a new role.
Former SF Giants first-round pick Christian Arroyo is thriving with the Boston Red Sox.
The Giants selected Arroyo with the 25th overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft. After a few years in the minor leagues, Arroyo was called up by the Giants as a 22-year-old prospect in 2017. The organization seemed to envision him as a number two hitter who could help set the table for the middle of the order. However, Arroyo struggled to a .548 OPS in 135 plate appearances with San Francisco before being sent back down to Triple-A.
For Arroyo, the extra minor league seasoning would help his development and he would be back up with the club in no time. However, the next time never occurred for the Giants and Arroyo as he sustained a broken hand after being hit by a pitch that put him on the shelf for the remainder of the 2017 campaign. In the following offseason, the middle infielder was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays as part of a package for Evan Longoria.
Arroyo never got an extended look from the Rays. With substantial middle-infield depth in Tampa Bay, other prospects jumped the Florida native. Eventually designated for assignment and placed on waivers last year, he was claimed by the Cleveland Baseball Team. Then, after just one plate appearance, he was back on waivers again. This time, the Red Sox put in a claim and he has found an extended home with Boston.
A strong finish to the 2020 season earned Arroyo a prime opportunity to play every day in 2021. Thus far in the season, the right-handed bat has registered a .301/.350/.441 line (117 OPS+) with one home run, 13 runs scored, and 10 RBI. Recently, the Red Sox have deployed the 26-year-old as a leadoff hitter and the early returns have been promising for a team that is in second place in a tough American League East Division with a 37-24 record.
In seven games as the Red Sox’s leadoff hitter, Arroyo has been even better, posting a .861 OPS with six runs across 30 plate appearances. It is a small sample, but the Red Sox are trying him out in a new role and he has embraced it thus far.
The leadoff spot is likely not what the middle infielder expected when he appeared on several top prospect lists much earlier in his pro career with the SF Giants. However, with an extended opportunity and a good bill of health with the Boston Red Sox, it looks as if Christian Arroyo’s career might finally have found some stability.