The top prospect in all of baseball made his MLB debut Tuesday with a bang.
Tampa Bay Rays phenom Wander Franco, who is only 20 years old, homered for his first big league hit and finished the day 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored. The Rays lost 9-5 to the Boston Red Sox in 11 innings but still, it felt like a win for the present and future of the Rays and the game as a whole.
Down in San Jose, the Giants were reminded Tuesday night that they have their own top prospect who isn't too far behind Franco and could soon be seen as the best in baseball. Marco Luciano launched his own jaw-dropping homer, and when we say deep, we mean it.
Luciano, 19, hit a 423-foot blast to left-center field in the fifth inning off lefty Julian Smith.
Smith knew it was long gone, too. Luciano's home-run swing deserves admiration. It needs to be framed, stared at with drooling optional.
Luciano's latest big fly had a 113-mph exit velocity. To put that into context, only one San Francisco Giant has hit a ball that hard this season. Giants third baseman Evan Longoria hit a two-run double 113.2 mph off Colorado Rockies lefty Austin Gomber on April 26 at Oracle Park.
That's only 0.2 mph harder than Luciano's homer. Given we don't know the decimal point of Luciano's blast, there's the very real chance that his deep fly was hit as hard or harder than Longoria's double, too.
When Luciano gets a hold of one, the ball is bruised, battered and long gone. There are no cheap homers for the Giants' top prospect. His previous home run went 434 feet and had a 112-mph exit velocity.
Through 39 games this season, Luciano now is batting .283 with nine homers and a .910 OPS. He's heating up this month, batting .294 with four homers and a .961 OPS in June.
Luciano doesn't turn 20 years old until Sept. 10. Yes, he's only in Low-A right now. There's a reason why eyes twinkle when talking about the top prospect with the Giants, though. They haven't had a young player with this much potential, with this high of a ceiling in years, maybe ever.
Patience will be needed with Luciano. There's no doubt about that. Sometimes, however, it's OK to marvel at what can be.
Let's do that for now, and just enjoy Luciano's latest four-bagger flying deep into the San Jose sky.