1st round (10th overall): Arizona State OF Hunter Bishop—Slot: $4,739,900
Bishop is a local Bay Area kid who attended Juniperro Serra High School before going to Arizona State. Plenty of people have already drawn a connection between Bishop and Giants’ legend Barry Bonds, who shares both alumnus. Considering the Giants are still searching for their first homegrown outfield All-Star since Chili Davis, Bishop doesn’t need to be an all-time great to break the recent trend.
A two-sport prospect in high school, the San Mateo native originally chose to play football at the University of Washington before reversing course and heading to Arizona State to contribute on the diamond.
His profile is a scout’s dream. With a 6’5″, 210-pound frame his swing projects easy 60 to possiblly 70-grade raw power, while still maintaining 55-60 running ability.
Splitting his time between two sports through high school likely explained why his production lagged behind his tools. Bishop’s combination of power and athleticism had him on scouts’ radars in high school, but he struggled with consistency through his first two seasons at Arizona State.
Entering his junior year, Bishop had just 10 home runs in 100 career games with a middling .276 batting average. Then last summer at the Cape Cod League, generally considered the most prestigious amateur summer league, Bishop continued flashing his ability. He stole nine bases and hit four home runs but finished with a .233/.369/.350 line while striking out in over 30 percent of his plate appearances.
His potential combination of plus-speed and plus-power alone would have gotten him chosen sometime on Day 2 of the draft. However, late in the summer at the Cape, Bishop reworked his stance and made some adjustments to his approach.
Those changes worked wonders. He exploded out of the gate and was neck in neck with Vanderbilt’s J.J. Bleday for the NCAA home run title. While he slowed late in the season, Bishop finished with an impressive .347/.473/.765 line alongside 22 home runs.
He played center field at Arizona State and his speed could allow him to stick there, but he tends to have a poor first step and doesn’t get great reads on balls. If he takes big steps forward, he could stick in center, but his average arm will likely mean a future in left field.
The questions with Bishop revolve around his hit tool. He struck out in over 30 percent of his plate appearances as a sophomore and struggled to control the strike zone. He trimmed his strikeout rate considerably this spring, but concerns remain.
Ranked as the #7 prospect on Baseball America and MLB Pipeline‘s big boards, #8 by Keith Law at ESPN, and #10 by FanGraphs Prospects, Bishop was a great value for the Giants at No. 10 overall. There aren’t any signability questions with Bishop and there is no reason to expect Bishop to take anything less than the full-slot value of $4,739,900.
As if the fanbase needed any more reason to get behind the hometown kid, he rooted for the Giants growing up, but much more importantly he alongside his brother (Mariners’ outfielder Braden Bishop) started the 4MOM foundation to raise funds to help fight Alzheimer’s after enduring their mother’s bout with the disease.
If you’d like to support their foundation, go to 4mom.org