Get To Know Giants’ Prospect Christian Arroyo


First-round draft picks are far from a certain thing in Major League Baseball. All too often, a player drafted in the first round will struggle against tougher competition, and their career will fizzle out before it can really begin.

But the San Francisco Giants have had some good luck with theirs in the past dozen years. Matt Cain in 2002, Tim Lincecum in 2006, Madison Bumgarner in 2007, Buster Posey in 2008 and Joe Panik in 2011 were all first-round selections for the Giants. The team hopes they have struck gold again with their initial 2013 pick.

At just 19 years old, Christian Arroyo is already one of the Giants’ most promising young hitters. He has been nothing short of fantastic over his first two seasons with the organization, but he boasted a pretty hefty resume before even playing professionally.

Before becoming the 25th overall pick in 2013, Arroyo played shortstop for the United States National Team at the 18-and-under Baseball World Cup. Arroyo led his team to the gold medal, and he was awarded the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award after hitting .318 with 11 RBI’s in 13 games.

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In his senior season at Hernando High School in Brooksville, Florida, he hit .524 with 11 home runs, 13 doubles and three triples in 105 at-bats. He would finish his four-year high school career with a .436 total average and graduated salutatorian with a 4.4 GPA.

Despite all the accolades, many scouts and organizations shied away from Arroyo, feeling he didn’t have the tools to be a first-rounder. The Giants saw differently, as they made him the organization’s first high school infielder selected in the first round since Tony Torcato in 1998. The Giants would even go as far as saying that he was their highest-rated player available at the time of the selection.

Arroyo would play in the Arizona Rookie League for the Arizona Giants, where he made quite the first impression. As an 18 year-old, he hit 18 doubles, five triples, two home runs and drove in 39 runs, with a robust .326/.388/.511 slash-line over 209 plate appearances. His phenomenal debut earned him the Arizona League MVP award.

Baseball America named Arroyo the sixth-best prospect in the organization entering 2014. He would begin the year with the Class-A Augusta Green Jackets, but the big jump proved to be too much for the young man. In 31 games, he hit just .203 with five extra-base hits and 14 RBI’s.

The Giants made a difficult decision and demoted Arroyo to Low-A Salem-Keizer. Arroyo responded by returning to the form he showed in the previous year. Over 58 games, his average jumped to .333 with 21 extra-base hits, including five home runs, and 48 RBI’s.

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As a hitter, Arroyo has a great fundamental swing. His stride is very short, and he maintains a very level stroke, which produces line drives to all areas of the field. His hands are quick, and he stays compact throughout the swing until opening up on his follow through. The swing itself is somewhat reminiscent of Brandon Crawford‘s, as both have short strides and level cuts to both sides of the field.

He is a patient hitter with a good eye, as he can recognize and identify breaking balls early. He is great at fouling off pitches to get to something better to hit. Arroyo is not a power hitter, but his age dictates that he may be able to bulk up, as he weighs in at just 180 pounds. Even if he can add some strength, 12 to 15 home runs seems to be his ceiling.

Defensively, Arroyo’s range is about average. He has had a bit of a hard time making good first steps on liners, but that can be worked on as he continues to progress. He possesses a shortstop’s arm, which will help him make up for some of those read errors.

Although Arroyo is billed as a shortstop, he has had limited playing time at both second base (26 games) and third base (1 game).

At just 19, Arroyo is still a few years away from big league action. His ascension to this point has been quick, and he is about two years younger than his peers at the same level. If he can continue his rapid rise, the Major Leagues may only be a couple years away.