It’s not often you get excited about a guy going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.
But that’s how Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow said he felt after watching top prospect Marco Luciano on Wednesday night in the team’s Cactus League game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 19-year-old phenom isn’t knocking on MLB’s door quite yet, but fans and pundits alike are already awaiting his big league debut.
Krukow told KNBR's "Murph & Mac" on Thursday he doesn’t think Luciano will join San Francisco until 2023.
“I think 2022 is a bit soon,” Krukow said. “You may see him halfway into the year or you may see him 2023. I think that’s a more realistic year. But all I know is he is gonna be there.”
The Giants signed Luciano as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in 2018 before he tore through the Arizona Fall League in 2019 with a .322/.438/.616 slash line with 10 homers and 38 RBI in 38 games. Listed at 6-foot-2, 178 pounds, he already possesses great physical tools and is considered the team’s top international prospect.
Shortstop Brandon Crawford turned 34 in January and is due to make $15 million this season, the last of his six-year contract. Expecting a player to make the jump so quickly, even one as talented as Luciano, could be asking a bit much.
Krukow pointed to Joey Bart’s struggles last season as a cautionary tale of what can happen when a hyped prospect gets the call up too soon.
“Look, we saw what happened with Joey Bart last year,” Krukow said. “And Joey Bart’s a kid coming out of college, a major college program. And we saw where he needs to get better and we saw where he didn’t match up and we saw the frustration in the batter’s box and the catching position. We saw that he needs to play.”
Luciano profiles as a power-hitting, superstar shortstop of the future for the Giants. His bat speed is already the rave of the baseball world. But he got served a nice slice of humble pie from the Dodgers on Wednesday.
“If you threw Luciano into the mix next year,” Krukow said. “I think you would see those shortcomings fairly quickly.”