It's hard for Giants fans not to get excited about Marco Luciano. At only 18 years old, the young shortstop feels like San Francisco's next homegrown star.
Giants Director of Player Development Kyle Haines can't help but be excited, too.
“Marco, he’s very talented, there’s no doubt about that,” Haines said to KNBR's Marty Lurie on Saturday. “We’re excited about him, we’re excited to see him grow. I know the Giants fans are really hungry for their next wave of homegrown stars that see them grow up from kids into veteran players and do many great things along the way.
"I know that I personally sometimes even have to remind myself how young he really is."
Luciano played all of last season at 17 years old. He didn't turn 18 until September 10, after the minor league season ended.
Despite his incredibly young age, Luciano hit .322 with 10 homers and a 1.055 OPS in the Arizona Rookie League before finishing the year with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in Class A Short Season. Luciano played shortstop in all 40 games last year, but the 6-foot-2 teenager could add more to his bag.
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“I wouldn’t be surprised if Marco did kind of organically learn some new positions,” Haines said. “But nowadays with the shifts on the infield, a shortstop naturally plays a little second base, a third baseman naturally plays a little shortstop, a second baseman naturally plays a little on the left side of the infield anyway.
"Sometimes just by playing shortstop or second base, you can learn multiple positions just by shifting around.”
The Giants, like every other team in today's world of baseball, are looking for versatility. Mauricio Dubon, a natural middle infielder, was expected to move all around the diamond this season and he surely wasn't going to be the only so-called utility player on the roster. Luciano likely will focus on shortstop for now, but it certainly wouldn't hurt him to learn other positions.
The real question with Luciano is, how quick can he make his big league debut? If and when MLB starts this year, rosters likely will be expanded with 50-man rosters potentially coming into play. With the minor league season in jeopardy and the Giants hoping to develop their rising farm system, Luciano and many other prospects might find their name on major league rosters sooner than expected.
"Obviously that would be a Farhan [Zaidi] decision, but ultimately I think my recommendation to him, being a little selfish in player development, is I want to see all these guys available as much as they can be," Haines said. "No one would be more excited to see these guys play on a big league team than me, but I also want to make sure we're doing the best we can for the career development and make sure we're not gonna hinder their development."