Giants

Giants No. 3 prospect Marco Luciano drawing comparisons to Alfonso Soriano

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AP

Giants No. 3 prospect Marco Luciano drawing comparisons to Alfonso Soriano

At the start of the minor league season, Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos were all Giants fans could talk about. The future of San Francisco looked to be in San Jose with the first-round draft picks. 

Bart, a first-round pick in 2018, is considered the best catching prospect in the game with a rocket arm and huge power at the plate. Ramos, 19, has made major strides this year and is one of the fastest rising prospects in all of baseball. Both deserved to be at the top of the team's farm system.

And yet, the brightest star of future Giants might be playing in Arizona right now. 

"Marco Luciano is the guy that pops out to me," Giants farm director Kyle Haines said Friday on KNBR when asked about which prospect has impressed him the most this year.

Luciano only is 17 years old and is making the Arizona Rookie League look like a game of whiffle ball. The shortstop hit his seventh home run this season Saturday night, in just 15 games. His body type and ability remind Haines of a former seven-time All-Star. 

"The athleticism combined with the hit tool is just something I think every team is looking for," Haines said. "He's got a lot of characteristics where I look and I think, 'Man this is probably what a young Alfonso Soriano looked like back in the day.'" 

Soriano and Luciano both originally are shortstops from the Dominican Republic. They have similar strong, lanky bodies with powerful swings, too. While some scouts believe Luciano one day will switch positions, Soriano primarily became a second baseman early in his career before later transitioning to the outfield. 

There's certainly a chance Luciano could bounce around the field like Soriano did.

"He's a guy that plays middle infield, is athletic enough to play shortstop," Haines said. "Maybe he'll have to move off and play second base like Soriano eventually did. Luciano, he might stick at short or he might move to third or second or center field." 

What stands out, though, is Luciano's bat. Already listed at 6-foot-2 and 178 pounds, the ball flies off his bat. Luciano currently is hitting .383 with an .833 slugging percentage and 1.312 OPS. 

"When he impacts the baseball, you don't see anyone hit the ball like he does," Haines said. "And he does it at 17 years old from a very athletic build." 

Soriano made his debut for the Yankees in 1999 at 23 years old. Over his 16-year career, he hit 412 home runs and won four Silver Slugger awards. To state the obvious, the Giants would take that kind of career from Luciano any day of the week.

MLB Pipeline projects Luciano to make his major league debut in 2023 when he'll only be 21 years old. Haines knows it's unfair to put sky-high expectations on someone who should be a senior in high school. Still, the Giants can't help themselves. 

"It's been really exciting to watch," Haines said. "You can't help but dream of what he can become." 

[RELATED: Where Hunter Bishop should rank among Giants' top prospects]

The Giants' top two prospects are in San Jose. The one with the most intrigue and highest upside, however, is busy hitting dingers in the desert.

Giants' Mauricio Dubon needs jersey number after Gabe Kapler took his

Giants' Mauricio Dubon needs jersey number after Gabe Kapler took his

Gabe Kapler had his introductory press conference as the Giants' new manager, and he's chosen his uniform number as well.

The skipper has chosen No. 19 to sport this season, which means young infielder Mauricio Dubon will have to choose a new number -- and he needs your help.

He recently took to Twitter and asked what number he should wear now that he has to make the switch: 

No. 21 appeared to stand out from a Milwaukee Brewer's fan account, since Honduras became a country in 1821. Dubon was born in Honduras in 1994 (sorry to make you guys feel old).

[RELATED: Dubon gets engaged at Disneyland Paris]

Five-time All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent also sported the number with San Francisco.

We shall see ... 

Giants continue Triples Alley construction, moving bullpens off field

Giants continue Triples Alley construction, moving bullpens off field

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gabe Kapler and Scott Harris both went through the same drill earlier this week, standing near the home dugout at Oracle Park as a team photographer grabbed shots from their first days on the job. Behind the two new members of the brain trust, construction workers continued the work that started last month.

The Giants plan to make an official announcement about the changing dimensions of their ballpark, and the new locations of the bullpen, soon, but those who attended the press conferences this week -- and a TopGolf event the park hosted last week -- got a sneak preview. 

A chunk of the bleacher seats in right center have already been ripped out to make room for the new bullpens, and some seats have also been taken out in left center to accommodate other changes to the ballpark. But team president and CEO Larry Baer said the changes won't be drastic for hitters. 

"Triples Alley will still be Triples Alley, just with some refinements," Baer said. 

The Giants are still figuring out some of the exact details, but they know the bullpens will be side-by-side in center and right center. The kale garden will remain, although it sounds like there will be some changes to the dimensions out there because the center-field wall is coming in about six feet, which should please hitters. 

The deepest part of the park -- the nemesis for Brandon Belt and other left-handed hitters -- is 421 feet and will ultimately be closer to 410 feet when the construction is done, the Giants think. The Giants put a bar underneath the new scoreboard last season and plan to have additional changes, including a terrace, out there this year, continuing a trend around the game -- seen across the bridge in Oakland -- of having more gathering spots for fans. 

[RELATED: What Kapler learned from Phillies tenure]

Even as they held two press conferences last week, the Giants remained coy about their exact plans for the dimensions, but they expect to take out about 400 seats.

Some of those may be made up for in other spots. There is a short wall separating the old bullpens from the first row of seats and about 80 feet of that wall has been taken down on both sides of the park, which would seem to indicate that the Giants are going to add some premium seating in some of that territory.