Marco Luciano lost a year of his minor league career, yet he keeps trending up among the best prospects in baseball. The Giants will try to quiet the hype when they can, but this is who they hope is their Fernando Tatis Jr., their Ronald Acuña Jr.
After a year where Luciano, who turned 19 in September last year, spent his time at the Giants' Summer Camp with the big league squad and then continued on to their alternate site in Sacramento and finished off in the fall Instructional League, the young shortstop has enjoyed an offseason full of praise. MLB Pipeline on Wednesday ranked Luciano as the fourth-best shortstop prospect in the game. They also said he has the most power among the best shortstop prospects.
"Luciano’s raw power and bat speed are top of the scale, and he has the advanced hitting chops to get to it consistently," MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo wrote on Luciano. "He’ll still be a teenager for most of the 2021 season, and he’s still filling out and adding strength to his 6-foot-2 frame."
Pipeline is set to release their Top 100 prospects list on Friday, and Luciano is sure to be ranked high. Baseball America already has done so, and Luciano was just outside the top 10 overall. The Giants' top prospect was ranked No. 12, and Baseball America has him as the third-best shortstop prospect in baseball.
Baseball America believes Luciano can be on the same track as Tatis Jr., who already is one of the brightest stars in baseball at only 22 years old. He finished fourth in NL MVP voting as a 21-year-old last season.
"If he can make the defensive improvements necessary, he could one day join the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. as a second Dominican superstar shortstop in the National League West," Baseball America says in their Luciano scouting report.
There's no doubt Luciano's bat is what catches everyone's eyes. On the 20-80 scouting scale, Pipeline gives Luciano's hit tool a 55 and his power tool a 65. That's elite power. He hit 10 home runs as a 17-year-old in the Arizona Rookie League in 2019, and became the king of bat flips in the instructional league last year.
But don't overlook his defense. Pipeline also give him an average 50 field tool but a 60 when it comes to his arm. In a video released by the outlet you can see his rocket of an arm at the 20-second mark.
Some evaluators believe Luciano will move to third base as his body matures, which is just fine, but the Giants believe he has a long future at shortstop.
"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," Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said last summer.
Luciano hasn't played above Short Season Class A and is expected to start the season in Low Class A with the San Jose Giants. However, he could work his way up to San Francisco in a hurry.
The Giants did their best to make the alternate site feel like a normal season for young players like Luciano. There's no getting around it, though. Luciano, and so many others, lost a season of development last year. The Giants know this and will be aggressive this year when it comes to promoting their top prospects.
"Our general approach with our prospects is going to be to be pretty conservative with placements starting the season, just because a lot of these guys will not have played competitive baseball in a pretty long period of time, but then to promote pretty aggressively once the season starts," Zaidi said in November. "We want to give the guys the opportunity to advance if their performance warrants it."
Luciano's play has warranted non-stop praise. If all goes right, it also will warrant a big league debut before we know it.
Buy your Marco Luciano stock now before it's too late.