Gabe Kapler has spent most of the first six days of camp watching bullpen sessions, and even on Monday, when position players were on the field for the first time, Kapler said he spent most of the day keeping a close eye on the pitchers. But Kapler still tries to meet with as many players per day as possible, and when hitters started to clear the intake process over the weekend, he noted that a couple of young prospects stood out.
Kapler credited young infielders Marco Luciano and Will Wilson for showing up in great shape, saying Luciano was "noticeably thicker" and Wilson "looks fantastic." Luciano was in camp with the Giants last summer at Oracle Park and then had two months at the alternate site in Sacramento to work with more experienced players. He apparently used the subsequent offseason well.
"We're all aligned, from strength and conditioning to medical to the coaches, we're all thinking the same things: How do we add explosiveness, how do we maintain mobility and flexibility, and how can we make that translates onto the field," Kapler said. "With Luciano, we're all thinking the same things."
Luciano is the organization's top prospect and a consensus top 20 prospect in all of baseball. He didn't turn 19 until last September but already is known for his tremendous power, and the Giants are excited to see what he can do as he matures physically.
They're also not worried about what that will mean for his future on the dirt. Team officials are confident he can stay at shortstop, and Kapler said he's not worried that Luciano, currently listed at 6-foot-2, will outgrow the position as he adds to his frame.
"Usually something like outgrowing a position isn't a result of pushing hard in the weight room, it's not the result of offseason training, because in theory those sorts of things -- usable lean tissue muscle -- should lead to more explosiveness and better lateral movement as long as we're also focused on flexibility and mobility, which we are with Luciano," Kapler said. "I actually think a little bit more maturity in the lower half physically, which is sort of what we've seen so far in how he's shown up, is going to play really well for him at shortstop. We're going to try to get as many looks at him in the middle of the dirt as we possibly can."
Kapler said he anticipates Luciano and Wilson getting some starts during the Cactus League season since the Giants have so many veteran infielders who will get rest days. He's also looking forward to having Luciano work with bench/infield coach Kai Correa for a second time. Correa has a strong reputation for helping infielders develop, and he liked what he saw from Luciano last summer. After Luciano spent time at the July camp, Correa said he was confident he could stay in the middle of the diamond.
"He's going to have a chance to play that position for a long time," Correa said. "A lot of the time with bigger guys they become destined for third because they don't have the same adjustability and gracefulness with their hands as guys who play lower to the ground. We threw a bunch at him and he can adapt and adapt, and that's been one of the most impressive things."