The Giants already have a perfect succession plan in place behind the plate, with Joey Bart set to eventually take over for Buster Posey as the catcher and potential face of the franchise. They might have a similar development at another key defensive position.
It's been a decade since the Giants had to worry about the shortstop position, but with Brandon Crawford now 33, the franchise finally is ready to look to the future. Enter Marco Luciano, the top prospect in the organization by some accounts, and one of the top 10 shortstops prospects in the game, according to MLB Pipeline.
The list, released Wednesday morning, has the 18-year-old Luciano as the seventh-best shortstop prospect in the minors. Luciano also was named the No. 19 overall prospect by Baseball America.
Luciano has the potential to be a true game-changer for an organization going through a rebuild, although he's still far from the big leagues. In his first full professional season, Luciano played 37 games of rookie ball in Arizona and nine more for Salem-Keizer, hitting .302 with a .417 on-base percentage and .564 slugging percentage. He had 10 homers, 13 doubles and stole nine bases.
Signed out of the Dominican Republic by the previous regime for $2.6 million, Luciano possesses more natural power than just about any prospect in the game. MLB Pipeline projected that he could hit 40 homers annually if he reaches his ceiling, noting that his power comes from "outstanding bat speed, wiry strength and the loft in his right-handed stroke."
[RELATED: Giants add three non-roster invitees]
The outlet also listed Luciano with three others in the "best arm" category. Tampa Bay's Wander Franco was selected as the best shortstop prospect, and the list also provided a reminder of how tough the climb back to the top of the NL West will be even if Luciano is in the lineup in a couple of years. The Dodgers had the No. 2 shortstop prospect in Gavin Lux, who is expected to be their starting second baseman this year, and the No. 8 prospect in Jeter Downs.