MLB First-Year Player Draft Prospect Arroyo's Future Clouded By Deportation


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Octavio Arroyo is a baseball dreamer. The right-handed pitcher wakes up each morning and practices, sometimes with cousins and often alone, on abandoned fields in his Los Alamos neighborhood in Tijuana, Mexico.
Arroyo hops fences to get to these lots, dodging the rocky terrain and scouts from Mexican League teams that want to sign him. He throws until security guards who monitor the property toss him out because the 18-year-old doesn’t have permission to throw 90-mph fastballs on their land.

The dirt fields of Tijuana are a steep slide from the manicured diamond of San Ysidro High School, just a few miles away in San Diego. Not long ago, the 6-foot, 180-pound prospect was a star on the lush fields in the high school stadiums across Southern California.
Now, Arroyo’s future is unclear.
Arroyo, who was born in Mexico and played parts of three high school seasons in the United States, was found to be in violation of his visitor’s visa on March 29 at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, which divides the U.S.-Mexico border. He was deported to Mexico.
Arroyo has not been back in the United States since his deportation, but he remains eligible for next month’s First-Year Player Draft because he played high school baseball in California. The Braves, D-backs, Marlins, Pirates, Red Sox and Rangers watched Arroyo throw on Tuesday at a municipal stadium in Tijuana, and other teams are starting to express interest. The pitcher was once projected to be selected between the 15th and 20th rounds, but he could go lower, given his situation.
At his best, Arroyo threw a 92-mph fastball, a sinker and a changeup. But that was when Sabino Loaiza, a former Minor League pitching coach and the brother of retired Major League pitcher Esteban Loaiza, was his high school pitching coach.
Now, Arroyo throws to his older cousins — Wesley Aguilar, 22, who plays at Texas A&M Kingsville; and Ricardo Aguilar, 26, a former infielder at Cal-State Dominguez Hills — as often as possible.
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