Christian Arroyo already showing ability to grow into new position

Christian Arroyo already showing ability to grow into new position

LOS ANGELES — It took Christian Arroyo about five minutes to convince his mom that a call to the big leagues was real. He had considerably more success the first time he tried to convince the coaching staff to challenge the play.

Manager Bruce Bochy has had some trouble in recent years with players who believe they’re never on the wrong side of a potential review, but Arroyo was right on the money when he pointed at the bench and asked for a second look at third base in the sixth inning Tuesday. More importantly, he showed he’s a quick learner. 

On Saturday, Arroyo didn’t keep a tag on Will Myers long enough at second, which cost the Giants an out. Three days later, he stayed with the play and tagged Austin Barnes on the finger as he desperately tried to dive back into a base he had gone past. Arroyo said Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford talked to him Saturday and reminded him that replay will often back up a big league infielder on those plays. 

“The first time it happened it was just really weird because Myers didn’t even slide (on the stolen base attempt). I went to tag him and I thought he was out anyway, and I went to show the tag and that I had him out, and (the umpire) called him safe and he was flying past the bag,” Arroyo said. “It was just kind of one of those awkward plays, a first experience with replay, and I had really never dealt with replay before. With replay, they told me to make sure you keep it on them. 

“As soon as I got that throw from Hunter (on Tuesday) I saw that Barnes was running pretty hard and he was going to have a late slide. I figured that maybe we had a chance and I tried to hold (the tag) on the bag, and he came off.”

The adjustment was minor, but that’s been the case with everything the Giants have asked of Arroyo defensively. His bat got him up here, but the glove has been right there in terms of impact through 10 games. Arroyo has made a pair of flashy barehanded grabs and he showed a spectacular diving stop Tuesday. Ron Wotus, who coaches the infielders, said he hasn’t felt the need to adjust much since Arroyo was called up and put at a relatively new position.

“There’s nothing glaring that he needs to do,” Wotus said. “We talk every day about learning the league and learning our pitchers, but right now there’s more of that taking place. Everything else is just minor technique stuff. If you can play shortstop you can play anywhere on the field and he’s shown that. Being closer to the batter (at third), I’ve seen some infielders have a difficult time with that adjustment, but we haven’t seen any signs of that with him. I like what I’ve seen.”

Some scouting reports on Arroyo in the minors noted that his arm might be a little short for third, and a few dipping throws in spring training concerned coaches. But Arroyo has made an adjustment, saying he’s working on “staying on my legs and staying low when I throw to prevent errors and getting sink on the ball.” 

That’s one area Arroyo focuses on. The other will simply improve with time. 

“It’s just about getting more comfortable with positioning,” he said. “At third, because I haven’t played it that much, I don’t really know the extent of my range, so I don’t really know necessarily how far I can go right or how far I can go left. I think that’s probably the biggest thing.”

The Giants aren’t concerned. In time, Arroyo will fully learn the spacing at a new position. He was drafted a shortstop and he has just 58 professional starts at third, but he looks more than capable of settling in there and giving them another strong glove on the infield. 

"He’s got good hands, good quickness, a good arm," Bochy said. "He’s a nice defender and he probably doesn’t get credit for how good he is defensively because there’s a lot of talk about him offensively. With time, I think he’ll get the credit he deserves.”

MLB Power Rankings 2019: Giants, A's open in middle of the pack


MLB Power Rankings 2019: Giants, A's open in middle of the pack

The MLB standings have an odd look right now. The Mariners are 2-0. The A's are 0-2. The other 28 teams are 0-0. 

That's what happens when you have two teams open their season overseas a week in advance, but the rest of the league will catch up on Thursday.

There will be early-season surprises and disappointments, and you can count on panic in at least one big market. That's the case every year.

But before the other 28 teams officially get going, let's take a look around the majors for our first edition of the Power Rankings, with a special focus on some guys who have Giants ties:


These Giants can reach major career milestones during 2019 MLB season

These Giants can reach major career milestones during 2019 MLB season

SAN FRANCISCO -- It has been 10 years since we first saw Buster Posey take the field for the Giants at Oracle Park. That emotional moment in Bruce Bochy's office when Brandon Belt found out he made the team? That was eight years ago. Brandon Crawford is about to begin his eighth season as the everyday shortstop. 

In other words, this core has been around a long time, and that means some of these guys are moving up the franchise charts and coming up on statistical milestones. Here are some to keep an eye on in 2019: 

Buster Posey

As a full-time big leaguer, Posey has only had two seasons where he wasn't worth at least four Wins Above Replacement -- and he had season-ending surgery both times. With another four-WAR season, Posey will move well into the top 10 on the franchise list, all the way up to seventh. He's currently 12th with 41.3 career WAR, per Baseball-Reference. He has a long, long way to catch franchise leader Willie Mays (154.8)

Brandon Crawford

It's been four years since the shortstop hit 21 homers, and the Giants haven't had anyone reach 20 since.

But Crawford needs just 13 this season to become the 31st player in franchise history to hit 100 homers with the Giants. He has 14 each of the past two seasons. 

Posey vs. Crawford

These longtime friends like to take good-natured shots at each other when it comes to stats (usually when stolen bases are involved), so we should point out that Crawford (58) is just three intentional walks behind Posey (61). Crawford needs two free passes this year to pass Matt Williams and move into 10th place on the franchise list. 

The Brandons

They like to tease each other, too, so we should also point out that Belt enters the season with 199 career doubles and Crawford is at 198. Game on. 

Madison Bumgarner

With 110 career wins, Bumgarner has surpassed former teammates Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. He needs 11 this season to move from 16th to 12th on the franchise's win list. Bumgarner will need an extension to get any higher than that. 

There's a nice round number at play, too. A couple of injury-marred years have bumped Bumgarner up to a 3.03 ERA. If he gets past 200 innings as he hopes and has an ERA in the 2.70 range, he would hit free agency with a career ERA that starts with the number two. That would surely please his agent. 

Bumgarner is also eighth on the franchise list with 1,591 strikeouts and he could move all the way to fourth, just ahead of Lincecum, if he spends the whole season in San Francisco. The left-hander needs 104 strikeouts to pass Cain (currently fifth) and 114 to pass Lincecum. 

Gerardo Parra

The next time Parra throws a runner out, he'll reach 100 assists for his career. He has 47 career assists in left, 38 in right and 14 in center.

If this feels to you like a rare arm on the Giants, you'd be correct. Over the last five seasons, the Giants rank 29th in the Majors with 103 outfield assists. Parra has 45 by himself during that time. 

Evan Longoria

If he matches last season's 54 RBI, Longoria will reach 1,000 for his career. He's also 23 homers from 300. Hitting that mark would be huge for the Giants offense. 

[RELATED: Giants open 2019 in middle of pack in MLB Power Rankings]

Bruce Bochy

Finally, there's the man who already has said this will be his final season. Bochy needs 74 wins to become the 10th to reach 2,000 as a manager. 

If the Giants can shake off the last two seasons and finish with a winning record (82-80), Bochy would tie Leo Durocher for 10th all-time in wins. It would obviously be pretty cool for him if he could get sole possession of that 10th spot, and given the state of today's game, it's unlikely that any future manager would ever knock Bochy out of the top 10. 

Finally, there's a goal that seems highly improbable. If the Giants win 90 games, Bochy would walk away with an even .500 record (2,016-2,016). Although if Bochy wins 90 games with this roster, Farhan Zaidi should probably talk him out of retirement.