The Situation: The Giants are rocking a collective .236 TAv, which is 25th in baseball, and while their 69 runs scored entering play yesterday was nice and all, it rated just 23rd. Starting third baseman Eduardo Nunez has been a big ol’ part of that problem, sitting on a .208 TAv his own damn self, and the now-DFA’ed Chris Marrero had failed to plug the hole left behind by left fielder Jarrett Parker’s broken collarbone. Enter number two prospect Christian Arroyo, owner of a ho-hum .446/.478/.692 line through 16 games at Triple-A Sacramento.
The Background: The Giants drafted Arroyo 25th overall in 2013 as a prep shortstop, signing him to a slot deal and sending him to the Arizona Rookie League, where he promptly hit .326 in a 45-game professional debut. Outside of a briefly rude introduction to full-season pitching the following year, he hit everything thrown at him up to Double A, climbing to the organizational top spot heading into the 2016 season. Still just 21, he yesterday became the lucky thirteenth member of the first round of his draft class to step between the lines of a big-league baseball game.
Scouting Report: To reiterate, Arroyo can hit. His top half has always been a sight to see, with strong forearms and wrists directing his barrel on plane early and with an authority belying his relatively modest, compact frame. Ah, but the plot thickened this season with the addition of a leg kick. The improved lower-half engagement and flow into the zone has helped him drive the ball with a newfound authority in the early going, and given both the plus hit tool projection and underlying strength in his frame, the hot start at least raises the question of whether our prior prognostications of below-average pop may turn out to be a little light. Outside of the box, the profile remains more on the meh side. He’s not a fast runner, by any means, posting consistently below-average home-to-first times. And while he’s continued to see a bulk of his minor-league starts at short this spring, he remains much more likely to find a long-term home somewhere else on the infield dirt. He’s got enough arm for third, and enough range for second, so the answer may ultimately lie in more than one chunk of real estate.
Immediate Big League Future: Opportunity has knocked, and if Arroyo answers it with a badly-needed jolt of offensive production it’s hard to envision the Giants kicking him back down to the PCL just for the heck of it. With Parker on the shelf for as much as two months, there’s a wide open window for Arroyo to assert himself as an everyday player. —Wilson Karaman
Fantasy Impact: Stop me if you've heard this one before. There's an infielder in the Giants' organization that has a great hit tool, is a fairly decent defender, and won't do much else. Okay, so maybe that doesn't narrow it down a bunch. Arroyo, the number two prospect in the organization, will get his first taste of the big leagues with this call-up. He has hit at every level, known for spraying liners to all fields. He didn't light Double-A on fire last season, but Richmond is a tough hitter's environment. He has more than made up for it this season (yes, small sample, but still), slashing .446/.478/.692 in 69 plate appearances. Nice, or whatever.