Marco Luciano

Giants prospect Marco Luciano receives rave reviews from Farhan Zaidi


Giants prospect Marco Luciano receives rave reviews from Farhan Zaidi

Get to know the name Marco Luciano, Giants fan.

You know about catcher Joey Bart. You know about center fielder Heliot Ramos. Now it's time to learn about the 17-year-old shortstop.

With the Arizona Rookie League underway, fans are finally starting to see the Giants' No. 3 prospect actually show his potential on a professional field. And it's eye-popping. 

In only his third professional game, Luciano hit his first professional home run Wednesday and fell a single shy of the cycle. He finished 3-for-5 with a homer, triple, double, two runs scored, two RBI and a walk for the AZL Giants Orange. 

"It was like Christmas morning today waking up and being able to watch those at-bats," Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Thursday on KNBR. "It's really exciting what he did."

Luciano followed that performance with an even more impressive one Friday. He went 4-for-4 with three RBI and three runs, and he went deep for the second straight game. This one was a no-doubter, too. 

Zaidi isn't one to cast unfair comparisons on players, but when raving about Luciano, he brought up a name that should drop some jaws. 

"I remember -- and I'm not comparing these guys -- but Mike Trout when he first went out in the Arizona League after he was drafted, he just went bananas and everybody knew he was special right away." 

Through four games in the Arizona Rookie League, Luciano now is batting .412 with two home runs and a 1.415 OPS. It's a small, small sample size, but it's another reason for future optimism as the present remains bleak. 

[RELATED: Watch Giants' prospect Luciano hit second Rookie-ball homer]

"You try not to cast too much judgement on how a guy does early on with a small sample and you know it's going to be an adjustment and things evolve over time," Zaidi said. "But when a guy goes out and makes that much noise early on, it's pretty exciting."

While Bart and Ramos are regarded as the Giants' top-two prospects by most outlets, Luciano has the highest upside. He doesn't turn 18 until September, and even if he moves positions down the road, his plus-power and athleticism should play anywhere on the field. 

Giants' 17-year-old prospect Marco Luciano hits second Rookie-ball homer


Giants' 17-year-old prospect Marco Luciano hits second Rookie-ball homer

Move over Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos. There's another Giants top prospect that is starting to make some waves.

Marco Luciano, the 17-year-old shortstop signed by the Giants for $2.6 million out of the Dominican Republic last summer, played in his fourth game for in the Rookie-level Arizona League on Friday and hit his second home run of the season.

Luciano knew he got it the moment he hit it. That ball was crushed. The homer was his second hit of the night after he singled in his first at-bat against the Cubs' Rookie-level team.

In his third at-bat of the night, Luciano drove in a run with a single to center.

Luciano went hitless in his first two professional games earlier this week, but on Wednesday, he went three for five with a double, triple and home run.

MLB Pipeline has Luciano ranked as the Giants No. 3 overall prospect behind Bart and Ramos. But if he keeps hitting like this, he may push the two former first-round picks for the top spot in the organization.

With Bart, Ramos and Luciano, Giants fans might have a trio of players worth looking forward to seeing in the next few seasons.

Where Giants' top five prospects will start 2019 minor league season

Where Giants' top five prospects will start 2019 minor league season

The season of either excitement or disappointment is here.

Opening Day brings fans World Series aspirations or Twitter fingers calling for firings up and down the front office. What comes the day after, however, is a look to the future. 

Minor league rosters have been announced, as the season starts Thursday across all top levels. Here's where the Giants' top prospects will begin the 2019 season, though there will be plenty of changes throughout the year. 

*Marco Luciano, whom I have as the Giants' No. 2 prospect, is not on the list due to the fact that it's unknown if he'll make his debut in the Arizona Rookie League at just 17 years old.

Joey Bart, Catcher

Joey Bart to the Giants! Well, not exactly.

Bart will skip Low-A and start his first full season in the minors with the San Jose Giants in Advanced Single-A. The No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft burst on the scene last season by hitting .298 with 13 home runs in 45 games of short-season Single-A for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.

Bart impressed Giants coaches and teammates alike this spring. He hit .350 with one home run, two doubles and seven RBI in 15 games, and won the Barney Nugent Award, which is given annually to the player who performs best in his first big league camp. 

If you're in the Bay Area, get a ticket to see Bart in San Jose at the beginning of the season. He'll move up the ranks in a hurry. 

Heliot Ramos, OF 

Joining Bart in San Jose is the Giants' 2017 first-round pick. 

Ramos, 19, had a down year in Low-A Augusta, hitting .245 with 136 strikeouts in 124 games. But the ultra-athletic outfielder also hit 24 doubles, eight triples and 11 home runs. 

The strikeouts and .313 on-base percentage aren't encouraging, but Ramos still is so young. He has the potential to hit 20 homers and steal bases. Watching him in the same lineup as Bart should be a lot of fun. 

Shaun Anderson, RHP

Anderson will headline a solid staff in Triple-A Sacramento, though he should make his big league debut at some point this season. He impressed Giants manager Bruce Bochy by throwing three innings on short notice against the A's in an exhibition before the season opener.

The Giants acquired Anderson from the Red Sox for Eduardo Nunez at the 2017 trade deadline. Anderson made his Triple-A debut last season, going 2-2 with a 4.18 ERA. 

Logan Webb, RHP

Webb, a Rocklin native, is the Giants' fastest rising prospect. He finished the 2018 season at Double-A Richmond and will start there this year as well. 

The 22-year-old posted a 1.82 ERA in 74 innings for San Jose before his promotion. If he continues to progress, Webb could wind up in Sacramento this season.

Sean Hjelle, RHP

The Giants' second-round pick is joining a stacked pitching staff to start the season in Low-A Augusta. But he'll certainly stick out in the rotation at 6-foot-11. Yes, you read that right. 

[RELATED: Minor League Baseball announces three-batter minimum rule for pitchers]

Hjelle is a really good athlete for his size. He doesn't exactly have the power stuff that one might expect at his height, but he is a polished young arm. 

Other notable names

-- The biggest surprise of the Giants' minor league rosters is Chris Shaw. After he got a cup of coffee in the bigs last season, he's been demoted to Double-A. 

Shaw last spent time in Double-A two seasons ago. He'll get everyday at-bats, and it'll be interesting to see how long he stays there. 

-- Seriously, the Augusta GreenJackets are starting the season with a stacked pitching staff. It was thought Wong, Hjelle or Santos could have started in San Jose, though they easily can get there in no time. 

-- Melvin Adon and Garrett Williams also will join Webb in Richmond. Both players impressed in the Arizona Fall League, and don't be surprised if Adon makes his way to San Francisco this season.

-- Jacob Gonzalez, the Giants' second-round pick from 2017 and the son of Luis Gonzalez, again will be in Low-A Augusta. He's slid down prospect rankings after a rough first full season in the minors, but the potential with his bat still is there at just 20 years old.