Mariners prospect #5 - Michael Arroyo

High-contact middle infielder rises two levels in 2023 with advanced approach on display.

Michael Arroyo (Mariners) GOES OFF In PLAYOFFS - HIGHLIGHTS From 2023 MiLB Playoffs (Modesto Nuts)
Michael Arroyo (Mariners) GOES OFF In PLAYOFFS - HIGHLIGHTS From 2023 MiLB Playoffs (Modesto Nuts) / Humm Baby Prospects

The Mariners' pipeline to top amateur talent in the Caribbean and South America continues to pay big dividends, especially when we look at our 5th-rated prospect, Michael Arroyo.

The team saw a lot of untapped potential with Arroyo and a track record of playing well against international competition as a 17-year-old. Two years into his professional career, Arroyo has flashed elite contact (55-grade) and average to above-average skills across the scouting board. Prospect Live's Joe Doyle says "he is a pure hitter" in Howie Kendrick's mold. For context, Kendrick played 14 seasons, accumulating a 109 wRC+ and 31.5 WAR; if that's Arroyo, sign me up.

Offensively, Arroyo brings high contact along with a discerning eye. He's always run above league-average walk rates (12.7%) with strikeout rates 20% or lower over his first two years. Arroyo's 2023 season put him on the map as he authored a .255/.403/.803 slash line across two levels of the Mariners' farm system. He provided a huge spark for the Modesto Nuts and played a crucial role in their run to the California League Championship.

Between Cole Young, Colt Emerson, Felnin Celesten, and Tai Peete, there is a glutton of talented middle infielders down on the farm, which pushes Arroyo to a super-utility role once he gets to the big leagues. But that is doable, as he handled both second base and shortstop in his minor league career. There is a good chance the Mariners will move him around in 2024 to increase his versatility while keeping what looks like an intriguing contact hitter with more left in the tank.

Arroyo will probably start next season in Modesto with a good chance of rising to Everett. That all depends on the bat, as it's his carrying tool. They could get aggressive and start the 19-year-old infielder in Everett because of his advanced approach at the plate.