The San Francisco Giants surprised fans and draft experts alike on Thursday night by taking Christian Arroyo, a shortstop from Hernando High School in Florida, with the 25th overall pick. It is a risky pick indeed, as Arroyo was not even ranked in Baseball America’s Top 100 draft prospects, and he is currently stationed at the position where the Giants are arguably safest at the moment, with 26-year-old Brandon Crawford projected to be the team’s starter for years to come. The 6-foot-tall, 175-pound Arroyo is the first high schooler that the Giants have selected in the first round since right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler in 2009.
Arroyo, who is committed to the University of Florida, has a very pure, smooth swing and could put up decent power numbers as a pro. Though he is considered to be a very capable shortstop in the field, he has also played third base, and many scouts believe that he projects best as a catcher at the next level. Though he has stated that he would like to remain a shortstop, it is more likely that he will be moved, seeing as Pablo Sandoval is not too far away from free agency, and Buster Posey probably will not remain behind the plate for too many more years. It is also possible, however, that the organization does not see Crawford as a long term solution, though that would not make a whole lot of sense considering that he has grown into a legitimate offensive threat this season and remains one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball. The most likely scenario, considering how much major league teams scout and meet with high schoolers before taking them early, is that Arroyo will agree to switch positions immediately and will be on the field with the organization relatively quickly.
It is difficult to make comparisons or to estimate a time of major league arrival for Arroyo, because so much depends on where he ends up in the field. In terms of his physical build and playing style, he is similar to the Colorado Rockies‘ Jordan Pacheco. He should be a solid complementary piece to a lineup who is solid in every facet of the game, but does not dominate in any particular area. Seeing as Arroyo is a high schooler who was not universally praised coming into the draft, it is likely that the Giants will allow Arroyo to develop slowly and move up one level at a time. With this in mind, it is difficult to see him arriving in San Francisco any earlier than 2017.
Though many were surprised and skeptical following the selection of Arroyo, the Giants’ brain trust has earned the right to be trusted with these types of decisions. That being said, the farm system currently has several areas of need, so it is imperative that Arroyo develops into a quality player and gives the team either a valuable trade piece or a member of the lineup for the future.