This week marked the two-year anniversary of Christian Arroyo being picked by the San Francisco Giants in the first round of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft.
At the time, Arroyo had just graduated from Hernando High School and was committed to play for the University of Florida, unsure of when or where he would be selected to go as a professional.
The local standout caused a stir among draft experts when the Giants took him with the 25th overall selection.
"They confounded the baseball world by drafting high school infielder Christian Arroyo in the first round," according to the Giants' draft preview on MLB.com.
Arroyo first burst onto the national scene playing shortstop in the summer before his senior year when he was chosen for the U.S. 18-under national team and won MVP honors in the World Baseball Championship in South Korea. His performance (.387, 11 RBIs) helped end a 13-year drought for the United States in that age division.
In his first pro season, Arroyo led the Arizona League in runs scored (47), RBIs (39), doubles (18), and slugging percentage (.511). He hit .326 with two home runs in 45 games, leading to his selection as the rookie league's MVP.
In his second season, he competed in Class A ball. With the Salem-Keizer (Ore.) Volcanoes of the Northwest League, Arroyo hit .333 in 58 games with five home runs and 48 RBIs and was named an all-star before being promoted to the South Atlantic League. He completed his campaign with the Augusta Green Jackets.
"I just had to get used to getting into a routine and get used to playing a game every single day," Arroyo said. "I struggled in the beginning of the year, but I think that actually helped me out. I looked at last year as a very positive year in becoming a better player and a better person as well."
In 2015, he has spent the entire season with the San Jose Giants, a High-A affiliate in the California League. His impact has continued to silence doubters.
Playing both shortstop and designated hitter, Arroyo has hit .314 through 16 games, with two home runs and seven RBIs. He missed significant time earlier this season due to an oblique strain that led to a stint on the disabled list.
But with continued minor-league success, Arroyo could follow in the footsteps of current Giants second baseman Joe Panik. When the Giants took him in the first round of the 2011 draft, it was viewed by many as a poor choice as well. Analysts said he was a low upside college infielder, yet he has been one of the team's top hitters over the past two seasons.
Arroyo fits this same mold. Known for his bat coming out of high school, he was not seen as a blue-chip first-round prospect. His initial performances have proven the Giants correct.
Despite dealing with injuries, he is already in Advanced Single A as a 20-year-old and is showing the natural hitting skills the Giants saw two years ago. He is ranked as the No. 10 prospect in the entire San Francisco farm system.
Arroyo has shared the field with the likes of San Francisco World Series hero Travis Ishikawa and former Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy, both on rehab assignments.
The experience has been eye-opening not only to Arroyo but to those who believe he could make an impact at the major-league level sooner than expected.