Three months ago, 2013 first-round pick Christian Arroyo couldn't find himself during a 31-game stint with Class A Augusta. Now that he's comfortable again, he's thriving.
The Giants' 12th-ranked prospect homered and matched a career high with four RBIs on a 3-for-4 night as Short-Season Salem-Keizer thumped visiting Boise, 16-3.
The Volcanoes roared to an early lead, scoring all of their runs between the first and fourth innings. Arroyo singled and scored in the first, added another base hit in the second and belted a two-out three-run homer in the third.
Even when he couldn't reach via a hit, Arroyo found his way aboard. In his last trip to the plate in the fourth, the 19-year-old got on base on an error by shortstop Bryant Flete.
"I'm seeing the ball well and I've been working on some stuff in the batting cage," Arroyo said earlier this month. "I'm just becoming more consistent with my swing. I've stopped pressing and I'm not trying to do too much, just trying to let my abilities take over."
With a commanding 15-run advantage, the Volcanoes went to their bench early, replacing Arroyo and three other starter prior to the sixth inning.
Last season's Arizona League MVP, Arroyo struggled to a .203 average and .497 OPS while battling a left thumb sprain that cost him time in Augusta. Since shifting to the Northwest League, he has hits in 32 of 42 games and is coming off a month in which he batted .359/.405/.419 in 28 games.
"I just changed my mentality at the plate and worked on staying inside the ball and not trying to do too much," he said. "I realize I'm not a home run guy; I'm a doubles guy. But if you hit doubles and you hit them far enough, they'll go."
Comfortably ahead, the Volcanoes cruised to victory behind a quality start from Jason Forjet (6-0). Over six innings, the 24-year-old right-hander allowed a run on three hits while striking out seven.
Salem-Keizer improved to 11-5 in the second half, remaining one game ahead of second-place Hillsboro in the South Division.
"The biggest thing is to win. Baseball is a game where if your numbers are good, you're obviously going to be happy, but it's also cool to be winning," Arroyo said. "We're kind of hitting our groove as a team and I'm just trying to help the team win any way I can."