Saturday, December 10, 2016

DrB's 2017 Giants Top 50 Prospects: #1 Christian Arroyo

Christian Arroyo IF.  DOB:  5/30/1995.  B-R, T-R.  5'11", 185 lbs.  Drafted Round 1, #25 in 2013 out of HS.

2015 High A:  .304/344/.459, 28 2B, 2 3B, 9 HR, 4.6 BB%, 17.8 K%, 409 PA.
2015 AFL:  .308/.360/.487, 3 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 4.7 BB%, 16.3 K%, 86 PA.
2016 AA:  .274/.316/.373, 36 2B, 3B, 3 HR, 5.6 BB%, 13.9 K%, 517 PA.

A lot of people expected more for Christian Arroyo in 2016 after he hit .300 in San Jose and again in the AFL.  Anyone who saw the bomb he hit in a night game in Scottsdale in spring training couldn't help but feel some irrational exuberance.  I mean, talk about hitting one out into the night!  For those who feel disappointed in Arroyo's 2016 season, here are a few things to consider:

1.  The jump from A ball to AA is generally the second most difficult transition in professional baseball behind the jump to MLB.

2.  Although 2016 was Arroyo's age 21 season, he did not reach that milestone until the season was 2 months old.  He was one of the younger players in the league all season.

3.  AA is the first level that most prospects face pitchers who can control their offspeed stuff well enough to "pitch backward" and throw it in "hitter's" counts.

4.  The Eastern League is one of the toughest leagues for hitters in all of baseball and Richmond is one of the toughest parks in the EL.  In fact, Richmond ranks 12'th percentile in hitter friendliness out of all minor league ballparks.

5.  While trying to adjust to a higher level and a difficult hitting environment, the Giants had Arroyo playing 3 different positions, SS, 2B, 3B on defense.

So, it is not surprising that a young prospect would shorten up his swing and try to make contact in an environment like that.  I'm impressed he was able to execute that plan while turning himself into a doubles machine with 36 while slightly increasing his BB% and dramatically lowering his K%.  Just for comparison sake, Joe Panik had 26 doubles with 4 HR in 590  PA for Richmond at age 22 and Matt Duffy had 24 with 3 HR in 409 PA at age 23.

Here is what I wrote in last year's profile about my expectations for 2016 in AA for Arroyo:  "I would expect some struggles and possibly some people jumping off the bandwagon like we saw with Joe Panik.  Just remember, the EL is one tough place to hit!  I'll consider the season a success if he hits .260 or better."

Here are some comments by Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs in his profile of Arroyo:

"….down year on paper- largely a result of the poor hitting environment in Richmond…"
"Arroyo's feel for contact remains superb…."
"….still projects as a .300 hitter…."
"…terrific hand-eye coordination…remarkably short to the ball."

Alex Pavlovic reports that Arroyo is expected to start 2017 in AAA Sacramento and will exclusively play 3B.  He could be ready for a promotion to San Francisco by as early as late May or June if needed.  I think the Giants preference would be for him to play the full AAA season with a September callup.  He is likely to be the Giants 3B of the future starting in 2018 after Nunez hits free agency.  He remains the Giants top prospect on my list!


  1. Awesome. Can't believe the your top 50 is finally here. Been waiting for this since the end of the Giants season, so thank you for your time and effort. Great report on Arroyo. I can't wait to see how he performs in Sacramento.

  2. What if he does a Brandon Belt 2011 Spring Training?
    That didn't do BB's career a lot of good.

    1. The only way I see that happening is if there is a major injury such as to Joe Panik or Brandon Crawford. I believe Arroyo's swing and approach will make the transition to MLB easier than it was for Brandon Belt, who still struggles with consistency.

  3. If he were to hit his way out of Sacramento, it seems like it'd be more likely he'd come up to play third in June/July and Nunez could move to a super utility role.

    1. That would depend partly on how Nunez is performing at 3B, but yeah, if Arroyo comes up huge in the first two months of the season and forces the issue, Giants would probably put him at 3B and move Nunez.

    2. Even if Nunez is hitting to the best of his abilities, the difference between him and Adrianza or Gillaspie as your super utility is huge. He could still get 500 PAs as the corner OF/IF backup.

    3. It's a long season and lots of different scenarios could play out. I still think the Giants ideal scenario would be for Arroyo to get a full season in at Sacramento with a September callup, but circumstances could change that.

    4. To me the best thing would be for Arroyo to get a full year in AAA with a September call-up. The reason being that'd mean Nunez was doing a good job at 3B and we were not having in other places that might causes Nunez to move to a different position/utility role.

  4. what's are the scouts saying about Arroyo's D at 3rd and 2nd? I actually like nunez's speed quite a bit and would like to see the giants keep if we can at him at around 6-8 mil per year.

    1. Average to below average SS, but probably plus D at 3B or 2B. Giants seem to be moving more toward him as their 3B of the future.

  5. I love Arroyo. I just love all the reports about his makeup, his swing, and his feel for the game. I'm real confident that he's going to be an upper echelon defensive 3B who can hit .300 consistently and rack up doubles. That's a great starter.

    Now, due to the aforementioned feel for hitting and his makeup, I think his power upside might be a little underrated. He has a very thick and strong looking lower half, not dissimilar to Buster. Can he learn to get himself in hitters counts and look for pitches to drive? If hitting comes that easily, can he make some swing tweaks that unlock some power without setting himself back? Maybe that is not what you would write down as your expected outcome, but it doesn't seem that far fetched to me.

  6. From what i gather from Brian Sabean's interview on prospects like Chris Shaw is guys like Arroyo and Shaw will be called upon if injuries arises.