By: Matt Rothman
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ baseball team already had two University of Florida commits in Jake Clemente and Jacob Gomberg. But in a little less than a week, that number doubled as Christian Rodriguez and Chris Arroyo made their pick.
Rodriguez is only a junior but is one of the top young arms in the country. He pitched for the Eagles in 11 games and had an ERA of 1.03, helping MSD win their second State Championship in six years. He struck out 114 batters in 61 innings after earning two wins on varsity as a freshman.
“It means the world to me to be committed,” Rodriguez said. “It feels amazing knowing that after high school, I will have a chance to go and keep on competing with a great team in a great place with great competition.”
For Arroyo, who shined both on the mound and at the plate, he allowed only 11 earned runs in 53.1 innings and also struck out more than one batter per inning with 85 in 13 appearances, going 9-0.
Offensively, Arroyo hit over .300 for the second straight season. As a sophomore, he batted .308 and raised that .25 points in 2021. Arroyo has three career home runs and has driven in 21 runs in 71 at-bats as he prepares to play for the Gators.
“Playing baseball has been a part of my life for so long, and seeing it continue goes to show my love and talent for the game,” Arroyo said. “I have a dream of being drafted to the MLB, and this gives me the opportunity to make it a reality.”
Arroyo has leaned on his family as well as his coaches from MSD and summer league.
“They saw the potential in me and helped maximize it to the fullest,” Arroyo added. “They never gave up to push me into being a better version of myself.”
Both players had similar paths growing up. They started playing baseball before they were in kindergarten. For Rodriguez, he played at North Springs Little League and watched former teammate and MLB draft pick Coby Mayo develop.
Rodriguez also played for his current varsity coach on Todd Fitz-Gerald on the Florida Pokers before entering high school.
While Arroyo will be graduating this year, Rodriguez will still have one more year left on the MSD baseball team. When they reach UF, they will be joining a program that has won 15 SEC championships, been to 12 College World Series, and won their first National Championship in 2017.
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- Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is now attending the University of Florida as a graduate student.
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