Prospect Arroyo soaking up big league advice

Giants' 21-year-old infielder doing what he can to hasten arrival

Prospect Arroyo soaking up big league advice

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The salutatorian of the Class of 2013 at Hernando (Fla.) High School, Christian Arroyo has taken his hunger for learning from the classroom to the clubhouse.

Almost everywhere he turns, Arroyo encounters people who serve as examples for him or possess wisdom he'd like to absorb to hasten his journey toward his inevitable destination: the Major Leagues.

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Arroyo, the Giants' top prospect (he's ranked 89th overall in MLBPipeline.com's Top 100), rules nobody out in his quest for knowledge.

The 21-year-old can consult the likes of Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner or Brandon Belt to discuss the challenges of being a prized Giants farmhand expected to take his final few steps toward a big league pedestal.

But Arroyo found significance in talking to catcher Andrew Susac and infielder Matt Duffy, who are no longer in the organization. Arroyo met the former while he was rehabilitating an injury in 2013 and the latter when both were at a Giants conditioning camp later that year. Arroyo treasured the "open lines of communication" that he shared with Susac and Duffy.

The Giants have earmarked third base as Arroyo's position once he reaches the Majors. However, he believes that the versatility he has developed while playing second base and shortstop will help sustain him.

Arroyo's two-run homer

"There's a lot of emphasis now on guys who are versatile," Arroyo said. "You see guys like Ben Zobrist and Kris Bryant [of the World Series-winning Cubs], and you even see guys who we have like Kelby Tomlinson, who can play any position. ... I think staying versatile is going to be key for me to keep progressing and get that chance."

To fully comprehend where he's headed, Arroyo even consulted history -- a subject, he admitted, he had little enthusiasm for in school. This was different, of course.

"It was always interesting, seeing the great players from each era. Even back to the '30s," said Arroyo, who reveled in video highlights of Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Ozzie Smith, Don Mattingly, Roger Clemens and the 2007 National League Most Valuable Player who occupies a dressing stall just several feet away: non-roster invitee Jimmy Rollins. The exploits of such men, Arroyo said, helped him "fully appreciate what you're doing and where you are."

San Francisco's No. 1 Draft selection in 2013, Arroyo is still seeking consistency. His fortunes fluctuated last year at Double-A Richmond, where he hit .274/.316/.373 with three home runs in 517 plate appearances. However, the Giants aren't concerned. Manager Bruce Bochy keenly remembers Arroyo's performance last Spring Training, when he went 10-for-18 with six runs scored, two homers and six RBIs while generating a slash line of .556/.619/.944 in 13 games.

"He's going to hit," Bochy said. "Right now he's not on the radar to make the club, but what he did last spring was open up a lot of eyes. He showed how well he can handle the bat or handle third, short, wherever we put him. It's just a matter of time with him."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.