Giants

What Hunter Bishop learned from Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval in spring

Giants

Hunter Bishop grew up going to Giants games with his father Randy and brother Braden. Just like thousands of other kids at the ballpark, Bishop cheered for his favorite players with dreams of one day playing on that same field. 

This spring, Bishop found himself wearing a Giants jersey at Scottsdale Stadium and was teammates with Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval, two players he rooted for as a fan just a few years ago. He let himself take in the moment, but he quickly had to turn the fan side of his thoughts off. 

"It's just all coming full circle," Bishop said to MiLB.com's Katie Woo. "At the end of the day, though, you're able to be a fanboy for a little and then it becomes a reality. For me, it's like I want to take it in, but also I'm not far away.

"I'm one good season away from being right in the mix."

The Giants selected Bishop with the No. 10 pick in the 2019 MLB Draft after the Bay Area native hit 22 home runs as a junior at Arizona State University. This spring, Bishop spent a few games in big league camp and said he saw from veterans like Pence and Sandoval that "they're never too high and never too low" and learned how to have a more mature mentality. 

Bishop learned right away in his first minor league season what a roller coaster professional baseball can be. He had a 1.033 OPS through seven games in the Arizona Rookie League last year before being called up Class A Short Season with the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. But he hit just .224 with 28 strikeouts in 25 games at the higher level. 

 

"This has definitely been a learning experience," Bishop said to Woo. "Coming from college, where you're practicing two hours a day and then your games are four times a week, to go to every day, six to seven hours ... I love it, but it's definitely a learning curve.

"It's a process to get acclimated to the pro ball scene." 

[RELATED: What Benito Santiago remembers from huge '02 NLCS homer]

Bishop, MLB Pipeline's No. 71 overall prospect and No. 4 in the Giants farm system, has all the traits to be a fast riser to San Francisco. The 6-foot-5 center field has both speed and power and has been praised for his attitude and work ethic. When the minor league season starts -- it has been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic -- Bishop very well could be in San Jose, where former Giants outfielder Pat Burrell has been named hitting coach for the 2020 season. 

Whether it be from Burrell, Pence or Sandoval, Bishop is getting the rare opportunity to learn from those he used to watch as a fan. If he puts all his skills together and continues to improve, however, he quickly could go from Giants fan to player before we know it.