San Francisco Giants Infielder Joaquin Arias: Who the Heck Is This Guy?

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San Francisco Giants Infielder Joaquin Arias: Who the Heck Is This Guy?
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
There isn't a lot of weight on Joaquin Arias, and there isn't much to his resume, either.

Today a commenter asked me about new Giants utility infielder Joaquin Arias

Honestly, I didn't know much about the guy, so I consulted my favorite source, Baseball Prospectus 2012, which has information about every relevant major and minor league player.

Unfortunately, BP 2012 was mum on Arias, apparently deciding his relevance as a journeyman utility infielder had run its course.  

His .272 on-base percentage as a 26-year-old in Triple-A was something the world, including the folks at Baseball Prospectus, will little note nor long remember. 

However, little did the world know that Brian Sabean and his henchmen would find a significant role for Arias this year. Here is my attempt at a Baseball Prospectus-style player card for the newest Giant:

Joaquin Arias, 27 years old, middle infield

Career minor league numbers: 3,716 plate appearances, .283/.317/.380 (average/on-base/slugging)

Career major league numbers: 287 plate appearances, .280/.318/.373

2011 numbers: .232/.272/.353 in 259 plate appearances at Triple-A Omaha

2012 Zips projected numbers: .252/.278/.348

Notes: The former top-100 prospect in the Rangers system was originally signed as an amateur free agent by the Yankees in 2001 before he was traded to the Rangers with Alfonso Soriano for Alex Rodriguez and cash.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, the player to be named later that they could have had in that trade in place of Arias was Robinson Cano. Luckily for the Rangers, Ian Kinsler turned out to be pretty good, maybe even better than Cano

The tall, skinny Dominican shortstop is now with his fourth organization in his 11th professional season, confined to the fate of a journeyman that can't hit enough to earn a starting spot and can't field enough to earn his keep as a utility infielder. 

The good news for Arias is that he is in one of the few organizations that has an incumbent shortstop as futile with the bat as he is. 

Brandon Crawford's projected batting line of .219/.274/.333 is even worse than that of Arias. Even better, the manager, Bruce Bochy, always prefers veterans to rookies, giving Arias even more hope for an opportunity to stick on a big league roster and to avoid the long bus rides, minuscule paychecks and obscurity of minor league baseball. 

At age 27 on a team with no real offensive options in the middle of the infield, this is his last, best chance to ensure his place in one more edition of Baseball Prospectus

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