A few weeks ago the Giants’ front office assured fans and media that MLB Pipeline’s No. 2 prospect, Christian Arroyo, would not be getting the call-up until his position is available—third base, then occupied by Eduardo Nunez. But when you give up more than 20 runs in a series that ended with marking your six loss in seven games, and with your club occupying last place, it’s time to make a move.
The team’s 6-13 start matched the worst in franchise history. They’ve been plagued with misfortune byway of injuries, some on the field, some sprinkled with stupidity. It seemed as if the holes were growing daily. And early in the season they looked fully exposed. While it’s early in relative terms, you don’t want to eventually be that potential wild card team and have it narrowed to a one game advantage.
Every game matters.
So they gave the kid the call. And why not? Arroyo was posting spectacular numbers in Triple-A Sacramento. He hit .446 (29-for-65), with seven doubles, twelve RBI and three homers in 16 games. The Giants had lost six of seven games at that point, and in that frame scored just 18 runs. The Rockies put up 26 against them. They needed a spark.
And it’s not as if they expected him to be the ultimate answer with instant return on investment. But he made plays. He brought energy and the numbers will undoubtedly follow. Some plays he made in the field were tough, including hustling to scoop one up that bounced off the foot of starting pitcher Matt Cain, bringing him to the turn. Arroyo barehanded it and threw across the body from his off-foot to keep Yasmani Grandal from reaching first.
“He (Cain) ends up putting his arm up, and I’m like, ‘I guess I’ll help you up,’” Arroyo said to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. “He gives me a chest pump, and I was like, ‘Nice.’ I was kind of pumped up.”
What a moment. Welcome to the bigs.
Arroyo—who’s sporting number 22, Will Clark’s old number—went 0-for-4 in his debut with three groundouts to second base and a strike out. Though, one of the outs was productive, as it moved Brandon Crawford from second to third where he went on to score off a Joe Panik sacrifice fly.
His biggest play came defensively in the eighth inning when he interrupted Chris Taylor’s grounder that had left field written all over it. Derek Law was on the mound with runners at the corners before Arroyo suffocated the shot and hurled it to second to snag the force. Panik turned it, nearly landing the double play. The Dodgers scored their first and only run of the night on that play before Law struck out Andrew Toles to end the inning.
Arroyo made his debut in the sixth spot of the lineup. On Tuesday, he’s batting second against three-time CY Young Award winner, Clayton Kershaw. The two-hole is familiar, for Arroyo. He’s hit there quite a bit down in Triple-A Sacramento,
“He’s got a good right-handed bat, and with Belt getting the day off, I think he fits in well there,” said Bochy.
Arroyo vividly illustrates the morning that started with a phone call and some guidance for what he’ll be working on that day. In his manager’s office “talking baseball,” with his hitting coach and hitting rover there, he was stuck with the news that he’ll be playing third tonight. Arroyo accepted the order and started for the door. His manager called him back to let him know he wouldn’t be playing third base in Sacramento, but rather in San Francisco.
“I got that look in my eyes, and I ended up breaking down and crying. It’s been a lot work,” said Arroyo, who then called his mom. “She started crying, too.”