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It’s the right time to call up Christian Arroyo

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The key piece in the Longoria trade needs an opportunity to prove himself

Seattle Mariners v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Christian Arroyo was called up by the San Francisco Giants in 2017, mostly due to injuries. He’s had the prospect pedigree of a late first round draft pick and the skills at the plate to be a major league hitter even if his defensive home wasn’t strictly defined.

Ever since his major league call up he has had trouble staying healthy enough to get consistent playing time, whether that be in the minors or majors.

In 135 plate appearances Arroyo hit .192/.244/.304 and put up a 43 wRC+ in his first opportunity in the majors, before being felled by a wrist injury that put him on the injured list. He eventually suffered two setbacks that ended his season in early July 2017.

The Rays then acquired Arroyo as the primary piece of the Evan Longoria trade before the 2018 season. He spent roughly a month in the majors and hit .264/.339/.396 with a 106 wRC+ over 59 plate appearances before suffering an oblique injury that forced him to miss a month before being optioned back to Triple-A Durham. Between the majors and minors he only managed to make 248 plate appearances.

This year Arroyo has spent most of the year at Durham. He spent about a week up with the big club early in the year after Joey Wendle went to the injured list, and then saw a few games against Boston. He’s had 15 plate appearances in the majors, hitting .214/.267/.214 and put up a 35 wRC+. However, he has managed to stay healthy and get consistent playing time in Durham.

In 134 Triple-A plate appearances he has hit .314/.381/.603 and put up a 145 wRC+ with 9 doubles, 1 triple, and 8 homers. We need to take the context of power in Triple-A where they have instituted MLB balls and seen the league average ISO rise from 0.137 to 0.181. The homer rate is up almost 50%.

Arroyo is not a power hitter, but he makes quality contact. He’s getting more balls in the air even if most of it is of the line drive variety. His groundball rate has fallen to 44.6% from 61.4% in his Triple-A time the last two years.

Christian Arroyo has the skills to be a contributor at the major league level, and needs to be given an opportunity. For the Rays that likely means this year and sooner rather than later. Due to being added to the 40 man roster by the Giants in 2017 Christian Arroyo will be a 24 year old that is out of options next season.

While Matt Duffy and Joey Wendle are on the injured list there is an opportunity for somebody to earn some playing time, especially with the offensive struggles by Daniel Robertson.

By the time the trade deadline comes the Rays will be in the position to look for somebody with more certainty in their MLB production than Arroyo.

This is a great birthday present for Christian Arroyo who turns 24 today. He’s been healthy and productive to earn this opportunity.

Today the decision likely comes down to the need for another right-handed bat against lefty Martin Perez, but he’s earned some run while the Rays get healthy.

Now is the time to find out what Arroyo’s future is with the Rays before they enter the winter with him needing to take a 25-man roster spot.