Down on the Farm: Arroyo's hit streak ends, still leads Triple-A in batting average

Down on the Farm: Arroyo's hit streak ends, still leads Triple-A in batting average

Christian Arroyo finally found his match Thursday night in the Salt Lake Bees. For the first time in the 21-year-old's Triple-A career, he ended a game without a hit.

Arroyo, the Giants' top hitting prospect, started off the season with a 12-game hit streak. The streak ended with an 0-for-4 night in which he also struck out twice. 

Despite the rough game, Arroyo not only still leads the entire Pacific Coast League in batting average at .442, he leads all of Triple-A as well, in 13 games with the Sacramento River Cats. Arroyo also ranks among Triple-A's leaders in OPS (second, 1.165), total bases (second, 36), hits (third, 23), on-base percentage (fifth, .473), and slugging percentage (sixth, .692). 

With all of Arroyo's success to start the season, the Giants may actually be happy he ran into his first taste of adversity. 

"You just want guys to experience the challenge of the higher levels in the minor leagues, so when they come up, when they do struggle or have difficulty, they can rely on the fact that they're where they need to be at the right point in time," Giants GM Bobby Evans explained before the season. "And if they come up too soon and struggle, they might have doubt that they really shouldn't be there."

Through only 13 games, Arroyo has already matched his home run total of three from last season. The PCL is full of hitter-friendly parks, but Arroyo is also showing power to all fields. 

"From his standpoint, he's probably most proud that of his three homers," River Cats hitting coach Dave Brundage said to "One's gone to center, one to left and one to right. That ability to hit to all fields is huge.

"Doing that is a benchmark. Base hits to right and left, line drives up the middle, it's all part of finding himself. That's who he wants to be."

Arroyo is a natural shortstop who has also played three games at second base this season and two at third base. While the Giants' fan base is begging for him to be the savior in left field, the Giants will not rush a prospect to the majors and force him to play out of position. If you do see him in left field on a River Cats lineup soon, it may be a joke and I apologize in advance. 

Whenever Arroyo gets the call up to the bigs, and at whatever position that may be, Brundage trusts the Giants' front office. 

"There's no set time table, no set position," Brundage said. "If he swings the bat, they'll find a spot for him. They always do."

Around The Horn

— Mac Williamson is off to a slow start in his rehab assignment in Advanced Single-A with the San Jose Giants. He went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts Thursday. Williamson has now played in two games and is 1-for-6 in those contests. 

—Tyler Beede tossed his first scoreless outing in Triple-A on Wednesday. The 2014 first-round pick went 6 2/3 innings and only allowed three hits with four strikeouts. 

—Kelby Tomlinson broke an 0-for-14 slump on Thursday. The utility infielder is struggling in Triple-A, slashing just .229/.288/.271 in 11 games. 

Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts


Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants moved closer to setting their opening day roster on Monday when they made a significant round of cuts to their spring training roster. 

A total of 15 players were reassigned or optioned, bringing the total to 31 players remaining in camp. Many of the players cut Monday entered the spring competing for jobs. 

In the outfield, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater were optioned to Triple-A and Chris Shaw was reassigned to minor league camp. Williamson had a huge spring and was the likeliest of the trio to push for an opening day spot, but he'll start his year in the minors. Steven Duggar was not among the cuts, and he remains an option to make the team, with the Giants also looking at Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez and Jarrett Parker for backup spots. Hernandez and Parker are out of minor league options. 

Tyler Beede was optioned and Andrew Suarez was reassigned to minor league camp, leaving three players vying for the final two rotation spots. Ty Blach and Chris Stratton have been the favorites all along, although both struggled the last time out and Derek Holland has had a strong spring. 

Both backup catchers -- Trevor Brown and Hector Sanchez -- were reassigned, along with Orlando Calixte, who saw time in the big leagues last year. Joan Gregorio, Jose Valdez, Justin O'Conner and Kyle Jensen were also reassigned. Chase d'Arnaud, who appeared to be making a strong push, was on the list, too, leaving Josh Rutledge as the only competition for Kelby Tomlinson for the final infield spot. 

Finally, Derek Law and Roberto Gomez were optioned to Triple-A. Josh Osich remains and appears the frontrunner for a bullpen job. Julian Fernandez, the Rule 5 pick, also remains in camp. 

The Giants break camp on Friday.

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

Starting to rev things up, Hunter Pence has big night at plate and in left

PEORIA — Jeff Samardzija spent a couple minutes after Thursday’s start talking to reporters about how deep he thinks the Giants lineup can be. It’ll be a hell of a lot deeper if Hunter Pence keeps hitting like this. 

After a slow start to the spring, Pence is charging. He had three hits against the Padres: a triple that bounced off the top of the wall in right-center, a hard single up the middle, and a double to center. The more encouraging plays for the Giants happened in left field. Pence chased down a drive to the line in the third inning, leaving the bases loaded. He opened the fourth by going the other direction and gloving a fly ball to left-center. 

"A good game for Hunter, both ways," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's getting more comfortable out there. You can see it with the jumps he's getting right now. It takes a little while when you change positions, but I think he's going to be fine out there."

The Giants appear set to have Austin Jackson and Pence atop the lineup against left-handed starters, and that duo could see plenty of time early. Seven of the first nine games are against the Dodgers, who have four lefty starters. 

--- Evan Longoria had a double off the right-center wall on Wednesday after missing a week with a sore ankle. He had a single the same way in his second at-bat Thursday. More than the at-bats, Longoria has impressed with his soft hands and steady arm at third. The ankle looks fine, too. 

“My ankle feels pretty good,” Longoria said. “I don’t think it’s going to be an issue going forward.”

--- It’s been a quiet spring for Andrew McCutchen, but we saw the wheels tonight. McCutchen easily stole second after a two-run single in the fifth. When Evan Longoria bounced one to the left side, shortstop Freddy Galvis tried to go to third for the lead out, but McCutchen beat that throw, too. He got up and put his hands on his hips, as if to say, "Why'd you even try that?"

--- Samardzija allowed three homers in a six-batter span in the third. He allowed three homers in an inning in his previous start, too, but he said he’s not concerned. Samardzija deemed it a sequencing issue. He’s working in a new changeup and threw it in situations he normally wouldn’t; Eric Hosmer took advantage of a floating one, crushing it to deep, deep right for the third homer. 

--- With a runner on, Brandon Belt put down a perfect bunt to foil the shift. Belt does that every spring, particularly against NL West teams, but rarely during the regular season. Maybe this will be the year?

Belt later crushed a homer to deep right. That had to feel good for a number of reasons. Belt is fighting a cold and he learned earlier in the day that his college coach, Augie Garrido, had passed away.