MiLB

Giants top draft pick Hunter Bishop earns first professional promotion

Giants top draft pick Hunter Bishop earns first professional promotion

All it took was seven games for Giants prospect Hunter Bishop to be called up. Well, to Short-Season Class A, that is.

San Francisco's top pick in the 2019 MLB Draft earned his first professional promotion from the Arizona Rookie League to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes on Tuesday. Bishop is expected to be in the lineup Wednesday night when the Volcanoes host the Boise Hawks. 

Bishop hit .250 with a 1.033 OPS in Arizona. He showed patience at the plate with nine walks and a .483 on-base percentage, and Bishop hit his first pro home run Sunday. 

For comparison's sake, Bishop spent one more game in the Arizona Rookie League than Giants top prospect Joey Bart did one year ago. Bart hit .261 with a .711 OPS and no homers in his six games in the desert before moving up to Oregon. 

Once Bart reached Salem-Keizer he caught fire, hitting .333 with nine homers in July. He stayed with the Volcanoes the rest of the season, finishing the year hitting .298 with 13 long balls and a .983 OPS. 

[RELATED: How many wins will it take for Giants to make MLB playoffs?]

Bishop is expected to stay with Salem-Keizer the rest of the season, too. He had a long layoff between his college season at Arizona State and when he signed with the Giants, so it was no surprise that he started off his career in the AZL.

There's no need to rush Bishop this year, though the front office certainly hopes he can have a similar first season in the minors to Bart's just one year ago.

Giants should target Cardinals prospect Dylan Carlson in Will Smith trade

Giants should target Cardinals prospect Dylan Carlson in Will Smith trade

The Giants added a former local prep star full of power when they selected Hunter Bishop out of Arizona State with the No. 10 pick in the 2019 MLB Draft. They could use the same philosophy at the July 31 MLB trade deadline. 

As the Cardinals reportedly have long been interested in a trade for Giants closer Will Smith, the Giants should be just as interested in a Cardinals outfield prospect. Sacramento native Dylan Carlson, who was the No. 33 overall pick out of Elk Grove High School in the 2016 MLB Draft, is the exact kind of player the team needs. 

Carlson, 20, is a 6-foot-2 switch-hitting outfielder, who has crushed the ball this season for the Cardinals' Double-A affiliate. Through 81 games for the Springfield Cardinals, Carlson is hitting .294 with 14 home runs and a .902 OPS. He's stolen 13 bases, too. 

Though many outlets project Carlson as a right fielder in the major leagues, he has the ability to play all three positions in the outfield. This season, he's played 62 games in center field, nine in right and five in left. He also has showcased a strong arm with 32 career outfield assists in the minors.

While every member of the Giants outside of Smith was on vacation during the All-Star break, Carlson joined Giants prospects Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos on the NL squad at the Futures Game. He started in right field and went 1-for-2 with an RBI single. And he's been on fire since showcasing his talents against the best prospects in baseball. 

In three games since the Futures Game, Carlson has gone 8-for-15 and hammered a solo shot to right field Thursday night. 

Carlson is an interesting case to look at with him being a switch-hitter, too. He has way more at-bats left-handed this year than from the right side -- 253 to only 60 -- and has had some more success as a lefty. From the left side, he's hitting .300 with 10 homers and a .917 OPS compared to .267 with four long balls and an .838 OPS right-handed. But many evaluators believe his right-handed swing is more consistent.

Here's a look at Carlson's spray chart for his entire career in the minors, via Baseball Savant. It's clear he has power to all field as a switch-hitter. 

The Giants need right-handed power hitters with how Oracle Park plays, but Carlson being a switch-hitter shouldn't scare off the front office. His left-handed power could be just as valuable if the team does indeed move in the fences to cut off Triples Alley in right-center field. 

[RELATED: Five bold predictions for Giants in second half of season]

Now, would the Cardinals trade their No. 2 prospect who looks to be on the fast track to the big leagues? Trying to acquire him surely will be a tough game of tug of war for the Giants front office, and it could certainly cost more than a few months of Smith. If that is the case, the young outfielder is worth it. 

The Giants need to get younger, more powerful and more athletic at the trade deadline. Carlson checks all the boxes. 

Giants No. 3 prospect Marco Luciano drawing comparisons to Alfonso Soriano

sorianoyankeesap.jpg
AP

Giants No. 3 prospect Marco Luciano drawing comparisons to Alfonso Soriano

At the start of the minor league season, Joey Bart and Heliot Ramos were all Giants fans could talk about. The future of San Francisco looked to be in San Jose with the first-round draft picks. 

Bart, a first-round pick in 2018, is considered the best catching prospect in the game with a rocket arm and huge power at the plate. Ramos, 19, has made major strides this year and is one of the fastest rising prospects in all of baseball. Both deserved to be at the top of the team's farm system.

And yet, the brightest star of future Giants might be playing in Arizona right now. 

"Marco Luciano is the guy that pops out to me," Giants farm director Kyle Haines said Friday on KNBR when asked about which prospect has impressed him the most this year.

Luciano only is 17 years old and is making the Arizona Rookie League look like a game of whiffle ball. The shortstop hit his seventh home run this season Saturday night, in just 15 games. His body type and ability remind Haines of a former seven-time All-Star. 

"The athleticism combined with the hit tool is just something I think every team is looking for," Haines said. "He's got a lot of characteristics where I look and I think, 'Man this is probably what a young Alfonso Soriano looked like back in the day.'" 

Soriano and Luciano both originally are shortstops from the Dominican Republic. They have similar strong, lanky bodies with powerful swings, too. While some scouts believe Luciano one day will switch positions, Soriano primarily became a second baseman early in his career before later transitioning to the outfield. 

There's certainly a chance Luciano could bounce around the field like Soriano did.

"He's a guy that plays middle infield, is athletic enough to play shortstop," Haines said. "Maybe he'll have to move off and play second base like Soriano eventually did. Luciano, he might stick at short or he might move to third or second or center field." 

What stands out, though, is Luciano's bat. Already listed at 6-foot-2 and 178 pounds, the ball flies off his bat. Luciano currently is hitting .383 with an .833 slugging percentage and 1.312 OPS. 

"When he impacts the baseball, you don't see anyone hit the ball like he does," Haines said. "And he does it at 17 years old from a very athletic build." 

Soriano made his debut for the Yankees in 1999 at 23 years old. Over his 16-year career, he hit 412 home runs and won four Silver Slugger awards. To state the obvious, the Giants would take that kind of career from Luciano any day of the week.

MLB Pipeline projects Luciano to make his major league debut in 2023 when he'll only be 21 years old. Haines knows it's unfair to put sky-high expectations on someone who should be a senior in high school. Still, the Giants can't help themselves. 

"It's been really exciting to watch," Haines said. "You can't help but dream of what he can become." 

[RELATED: Where Hunter Bishop should rank among Giants' top prospects]

The Giants' top two prospects are in San Jose. The one with the most intrigue and highest upside, however, is busy hitting dingers in the desert.