SECAUCUS, New Jersey -- The MLB Draft is the most unpredictable of the major sports, but with their first selection since taking over the process, Farhan Zaidi and Michael Holmes certainly checked off a lot of the right boxes.
With the 10th overall pick, the Giants selected Hunter Bishop, a power-hitting outfielder from Serra High School and Arizona State, the same combination of schools that once got Barry Bonds ready for professional life. The Giants have missed on several local stars over the past decade, but they're betting that Bishop's raw left-handed power will turn him into a middle-of-the-order star in San Francisco.
Bishop, 20, certainly isn't shying away from the challenge. On an energetic conference call shortly after the pick, he said he grew up watching Bonds blast homers into McCovey Cove and would mimic them with wiffle balls in his backyard. Asked what kind of player he is, Bishop said he likes to think he's a mix of Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich, who just so happen to be the two best players in the National League right now.
"I think my swing is more like Cody Bellinger, but I run like Christian Yelich and play defense like Christian Yelich," Bishop said. "Obviously those guys are really talented, but I think in the future I can grow into a player like that."
The Giants would settle for Bishop coming anywhere close.
No organization has had a bigger issue developing outfielders, and Zaidi, the new president of baseball operations, and Holmes, the director of amateur scouting, attacked the issue with their first draft. Bishop joins catcher Joey Bart and outfielder Heliot Ramos as a developing future core for the lineup.
Bishop shot up the draft board with a huge junior year at Arizona State, batting .344 with a .482 on-base percentage and .757 slugging percentage. He hit 22 homers in 56 games, and while scouts say he has some swing-and-miss in his swing, he did walk 50 times to counteract 59 strikeouts.
MLB Pipeline ranked Bishop as the seventh best player in the draft, and the Giants landed him despite a historic run on position players in the top 10. The MLB Pipeline scouting report noted Bishop has "tremendous raw power" and has "shown bat speed, strength and loft consistently, with majestic home run power to his pull side, but also the ability to drive the ball to all fields."
Former Oregon State coach Pat Casey, who was at MLB Network for the draft, said the thing that always stood out in conference play was that Bishop's "tools are off the charts."
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The Giants drafted more than tools, though. They believe strongly in the character of a young man who has joined his brother, Mariners outfielder Braden Bishop, in raising awareness for Alzheimer's through the 4Mom foundation, which Braden started after their mom, Suzy, was diagnosed.
Braden and Hunter grew up going to Giants games with their dad, and the younger son is now on a path to Oracle Park, where he hopes to one day resume his impersonations of Bonds -- this time with a real baseball, against big league pitchers.
"I definitely know it's a big ballpark, but you see guys like Barry hit it out all the time," Bishop said. "If you've got power, you can hit it out anywhere. I'm looking forward to one day playing at that ballpark, but I know I've got a lot of work to do to get there."