Giants

Giants

Joey Bart is getting most of the headlines right now, but in two years (or sooner), expect another Giants prospect to be the talk of the town.

Marco Luciano, the Giants' 18-year-old shortstop prospect, is starting to gain momentum as one of the top players in the minor leagues, and MLB.com analyst Jim Callis made a not-so-bold prediction earlier this week.

Luciano began the 2020 season as the No. 37 overall prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. Baseball American is even higher on Luciano, placing him at No. 21 entering the season.

With the 2020 minor league season canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and major league teams allowed to bring 60 players to Summer Camp, the Giants decided to invite Luciano to San Francisco, and played him in several intrasquad games. In one of his first live batting practice sessions, he launched a long home run at Oracle Park.

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Despite playing against older competition during Summer Camp, Luciano impressed the Giants coaching staff.

"My favorite story with him was asking him to talk about four-seamers that have hop and have ride up in the zone," hitting coach Donnie Ecker said on a Zoom call with reporters. "He talked about it and shared his experience with feeling like he's always fouling those pitches off. Our hitting department created a way to talk about game-planning with him for that (pitch) and the next day he ended up facing Rico Garcia and he homered on it. It told us a lot about the aptitude there."

 

But it wasn't just Luciano's bat that caught the attention of those at Giants' Summer Camp. His defense at shortstop earned praise from Farhan Zaidi, the Giants' president of baseball operations.

"He's been so impressive, and one of the things you talk about a lot with young shortstops, especially guys that have his kind of physicality at a young age, is whether they're going to be able to stick at short," Zaidi said in July. "From what we've seen, from what our infield coaches have seen, and what he's shown out on the field, we think he's going to be a shortstop even as he works his way up to the big leagues, so that's been really exciting to see."

[RELATED: Burrell explains what makes Luciano so special]

Luciano, who turns 19 on Sept. 10, tore up the competition in the Arizona Rookie League last season. In 38 games, he slashed .322/.438/.616 with 10 homers and 38 RBI. The Giants moved him up to their short-season team in Salem-Keizer, Oregon, and Luciano struggled, hitting .212 with no homers and four RBI in nine games.

For now, Luciano is training at the Giants' alternate site in Sacramento. He won't see time with the big league club this season, and most likely not next season, but if he handles himself well in a full minor league season next year, he could be poised to burst onto the scene in 2022, the year Callis expects the top prospect to reach his peak.