The Giants entered Friday as MLB's hottest team. They had won six games in a row and found themselves firmly in contention for the NL's second wild-card spot.
But their future still is brighter than their present.
Baseball America updated its list of top 100 prospects Friday, and four of the most promising players in San Francisco's system were on it: Catcher Joey Bart (19), outfielder Heliot Ramos (68), shortstop Marco Luciano (71) and outfielder Hunter Bishop (98).
Bart, 22, entered the season as the Giants' lone prospect on the list. He started the year in Class A Advanced with the San Jose Giants and entered Friday slashing .271/.319/500 with nine home runs and 30 RBI. The Florida State product has come on strong of late and had his second multi-homer game of the season Thursday night. Bart moved as high as No. 14 on Baseball America's list this season and began the year No. 29 overall.
Ramos started the season unranked and moved up 26 spots from his last in-season ranking (94). The 19-year-old was the second biggest riser on Baseball America's midseason list and for good reason. He and Bart made the MLB Futures Game, and the outfielder already has exceeded his home run total from last season by hitting 12 homers in 229 at-bats with San Jose. Ramos was slashing .314/.397/.537 as of Friday and should continue to climb up prospect lists as he progresses through the minors.
Luciano, who signed with the Giants just over a year ago, has taken pro baseball by storm as a 17-year-old. He entered Friday slashing .337/.445/.685 in the Arizona Rookie League and had seven home runs in his first 23 games. If his hot start is any indication, Luciano is well on his way to following Ramos' path through the Giants system: Rookie League at 17, Class A at 18 and Class A Advanced at 19.
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The Giants selected Bishop with the No. 10 pick in June's draft, and the Arizona State product already has a promotion under his belt. Bishop is now playing in short-season Class-A for Salem-Keizer. He has only played two games there but has not yet shown signs of slowing down. The 21-year-old entered Friday slashing .269/.500/.615 in nine minor league games.
While San Francisco's climb up the standings lately has captivated Giants fans, the promise of the team's top prospects bodes better for sustainable success.