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Rays Top 50 Prospects: No.8, Christian Arroyo

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MLB: Spring Training-Philadelphia Phillies at Tampa Bay Rays Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The departure of the face of the Rays franchise, Evan Longoria, is going to leave many scars, but hopefully some will be healed once the next player on our list makes good on his promising skills.

No.8, INF Christian Israel Arroyo, 22 yrs old

Born: May 30th, 1995 in Tampa, FL

Height/Weight: 6’1” 180 lbs Bats/Throws: R/R

Signed: by the Giants for $1,866,500 after being selected in the 1st rd of the 2013 draft

Twitter handle: @arroyo_c

Twitter profile statement:Tampa born. Tampa Bay Rays. Family over everything.”

Baseball America Rankings

  • Ranked as the 6th best Giants prospect post-2013
  • Ranked as the 10th best Giants prospect post-2014
  • Ranked as the 2nd best prospect in the Northwest League post-2014
  • Ranked as the best Giants prospect post-2015
  • Ranked as the 11th best California League prospect post-2015
  • Ranked as the 2nd best Giants prospect post-2016
  • Ranked as the 4th best Giants prospect post-2017

DRB Writers ranking

  • High: 7th
  • Low: 12th

Christian Arroyo: Abilities

  • Contact, and loads of it
  • Strong arm
  • Soft hands
  • Raw power that could be developed further without increasing SO significantly

Grades for ‘18 (Pipeline): Hit: 60 | Pwr: 45 | Run: 40 | Arm: 55 | Fld: 55 | Overall: 55

  • Abilities notes: Versatility and hitting ability will carry Arroyo in MLB initially, but the ceiling may be higher than some believe. He has a big enough frame and strength to add power down the road, something that would take his already impressive profile up a notch.

Joined the Rays by way of....

Possibly the biggest trade the franchise has ever made or will ever make in terms of its resounding impact for from the field to the clubhouse to the front office, and Christian is keenly aware of this,

“I know for a lot of Rays fans out there it hurts,” Arroyo said. “For me, if I was still a fan, it would hurt me, too, because I was a huge Evan Longoria fan. This is a guy who is the face of the franchise. That’s the thing about baseball. You have to make business decisions, and sometimes they hurt.”

”I’m just trying to look at it as a good opportunity for me,” Arroyo said. “I don’t ever want to replicate myself as an Evan Longoria, because he’s a once-in-a-generation-type player . . . I just want to go out there and play my game and make myself better every year.”

December 20th, 2017, Tampa Bay Rays traded 3B Evan Longoria and cash to San Francisco Giants for SS Christian Arroyo, CF Denard Span, LHP Matt Krook and RHP Stephen Woods.

At that point, Erik Neander stated the following, including a fairly big compliment to Arroyo,

“Our goal is to be more competitive than we’ve been over the last four years here and for us to be able to do that we need a very strong core of young major-league players,” Neander said. “And one of the pieces we got back in this deal, Christian Arroyo, really fits that bill for us.”

No pressure Christian, you are only replacing the best player in franchise history!

Hopefully some of that pressure will be eased by playing in his hometown in front of family and friends on a consistent basis.

Latest Transaction: optioned to Durham Bulls (AAA) March 11th, 2018.

Facts, Honors, and Awards

“someone offensively who can be a guy who you can build around,”

Stats

Christian Arroyo 2017 (AAA)

GP 25
GP 25
PA 91
AB 102
Hits 36
Doubles 7
Triples 0
Home Runs 4
RBI 16
SB (CS) 2 (0)
AVG 0.396
OBP 0.461
SLG 0.604
OPS 1.065
BB% 5.9 %
SO% 11.8 %
ISO 0.209
BAbip 0.427
wOBA 0.461
wRC+ 179

Stats Notes: If it wasn’t for a wrist injury, it’s possible that Arroyo would still be in MLB after crushing AAA pitching in 2017 to the tune of a line of .396/.461/.604 and 1.065 OPS with 11 extra base hits in only 91 AB.

Interesting Comparison: Justin Turner

While Arroyo has two inches on Turner, Turner has a few lbs on Arroyo, 15 if the posted numbers are correct. Both are RHB with tremendous contact abilities and to Arroyo’s age and level, had questions about their abilities to provide much power in MLB.

Like Arroyo, Turner bounced around the infield quite a bit but he spent the majority of his earliest time at 2B, while Arroyo saw significant time at SS before spending a lot of time at 2B and 3B. Regardless, both can handle the hot corner.

Since Turner was much older than Arroyo when he got his first taste of MLB (24 vice 21), I’d like to focus on other items. For instance, before he made it to MLB, Turner had never hit more than 10 HRs in a season and Arroyo’s high thus far was 9 in 2015 (although he was trending to crush that in 2017 before injuries struck).

After his first 2 seasons in the minors, Turner never stole more than 9 bases in a season. Arroyo’s highs in SB are 5 and 6. Aside from MLB time, Arroyo has never struck out more than 17.8 %, and while in the minors before his initial taste of MLB, Turner’s high was 16.7 %. Arroyo’s high in walks was 9.1 % while for Turner it was 9.5 %. Their ISO and wOBA may have been different by level, but both had some sub 1 ISO seasons and other more impressive ones, and both had superior wOBA for the majority of their time in the minors.

Considering Arroyo’s age, what he’s accomplished thus far is very impressive.

Notes for 2018 and beyond

Before we go into what may happen in 2018, let’s recap what derailed an extremely impressive AAA run in 2017,

Luckily, he was able to avoid major injury, but still spent time on the DL, but after warming back up in AAA and getting recalled, he suffered a fractured hand on another pitch.

It just wasn’t meant to be.

Arroyo did make it back before season’s end (October), but likely shouldn’t have been back at all as you’ll see below a few of his highlights.

There were not only lows for Arroyo in 2017, there were also highs. One of these highs was managing his very first hit off arguably the best pitcher in MLB, Clayton Kershaw,

Not only did he drive one off Kershaw, but the very next night, he hit his first HR off current Rays RP, Sergio Romo - taking his slider over the wall,

So it was not all doom and gloom for the Tampa area native. He showed a ton of ability, both in AAA and in MLB, and showed determination and grit by returning from wrist and hand injuries on separate occasions. But that wasn’t all before he was traded to the Rays.

Arroyo re-injured his wrist while he was playing in the Dominican Republic, in October, forcing him out of the winter league. So we can assume that the Giants medical staff did not allow enough time for that wrist to heal properly. Thankfully, Rays medical staff earn praise throughout MLB, so we can expect they’ll be more cautious should any issues resurface.

Moving on to 2018, we know a few things already. He’s spending time in AAA, and the length of time will be determined by a number of things. His performance, the control time issue, and who’s ahead of him on the roster will all be issues Arroyo has to surmount before appearing with the Rays.

Having said that, once he does get the call, expect him to stick around for a very long time, because his hitting abilities may be the very best in the system. Although he may never hit 40 HRs in a season, what he will do is drive pitchers nuts with lengthy at bats and by managing hits off their best pitches. It’s what he does best, and it’s what will help make the entire lineup that much better by wearing down opposing pitchers both mentally and physically.

We could take a stab at just how much power Arroyo will be able to manage in the majors, but it would honestly be a wild guess because he’s still so very young. Even with a swing that lacks some fly-ball abilities, Arroyo’s been able to drive the ball steadily and get a good amount of power without the HR results. It’s very possible that a few tweaks to his approach could tap into more power, something that should be more readily available as he matures physically. Somewhere between 15 and 35 home runs a year would be a reasonable expectation, if we had to guess.

The best thing we’ve heard Arroyo say since he was acquired by the Rays was this,

“Just because you’re getting traded for a player like Evan Longoria, you still have to earn it,” Arroyo said. “My intentions are to earn a spot on the team and be a guy who can help the Rays out for years to come. Doing it in front of my family and friends makes it all that much better.”

That has to be music to a Rays fans’ ears.

Arroyo will be stepping onto the field in a Rays uniform shortly, and he’ll be a treat to watch.

Christian Arroyo: Spotlight Videos

We’re going to start young here, all of the way back in 2012.

Now we show off his contact abilities, fending off a ton of pitches to earn a walk.

And then fast-forward to his more polished performances last year.

Recap and links of previously listed DRB Top 55 Rays Prospects

*Note: rankings were adjusted and reflect recent additions to the system - it is now a Top 55 list