As he called Marco Luciano's first Cactus League start earlier this week, Duane Kuiper saw the shortstop holding a runner at second. He doesn't remember who it was, all he remembers is that it looked like the opposing player was Luciano's little brother.
Luciano doesn't turn 20 until September, but from a physical standpoint, he already looks like he belongs with much older players. What the Giants don't totally know yet is where the bat ultimately will end up playing. They believe strongly that Luciano can remain at shortstop, and on this week's Giants Talk Podcast, Kuiper said that's what he's curious about long-term.
"The thing that the Giants I'm sure are going to keep their eye on with Luciano is, at 19, is he going to stop growing, or is he going to get bigger?" said Kuiper, a former second baseman. "And if he gets bigger can he still handle the shortstop position. Nobody knows about this kid. I mean, this kid could be a freak, he could be Alex Rodriguez as far as being that big and being that big and being able to play that position."
Rodriguez was listed at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds late in his career, although he was already tall and muscular when he broke in with the Mariners as an 18-year-old. The Giants currently list Luciano at 6-foot-2, 178 pounds, but the latter number is something even team officials joke about.
"I don't think he's seen 178 in three years," farm director Kyle Haines said on KNBR this week.
Luciano put on lower body muscle in the offseason and the Giants believe that will help him continue to get better at shortstop. He already looks pretty smooth, and he easily handled all four balls that came his way Tuesday, showing a good internal clock. As for the three strikeouts, nobody was too concerned. Luciano was right on some fastballs but fouled them straight back
"I don't care if he struck out three times," Kuiper said. "As far as I'm concerned the four or five foul balls that he fouled straight back were the most exciting part of the game."