Last summer, Marco Luciano became the San Francisco Giants biggest international signing since Lucius Fox. The teenager entered the season with a lot of hype and he’s backed it up at the onset of his pro career.
The San Francisco Giants are all too familiar with the amount of risk that comes with a hype international free-agent signing.
Angel Villalona, Rafael Rodriguez, and Gustavo Cabrera were all supposed to be mainstays in the middle of the Giants order after joining the organization as hot-shot international prospects. They played a combined zero games at the MLB level.
The Giants poached Lucius Fox from under the rival Los Angeles Dodgers noses in 2015. He still looks like a potential up-the middle-contributor, but he’s in the Tampa Bay Rays system now after he was sent out in the fateful Matt Moore trade.
That brings us to last summer.
The Giants were no longer saddled with the spending restrictions that came as a consequence of the big money Fox signing, and they made a big splash. Shortstop Marco Luciano was a consensus top three international free-agent and the Giants inked the 16-year-old to a $2.6 million signing bonus.
The scouting report on Luciano is filled with tantalizing tools, most prominently his electric bat speed from the right side of the plate. He’s also an above-average athlete who has a chance to stick at shortstop. Regardless, his bat should play anywhere on the diamond if he develops as hoped.
This season, Luciano began the year in extended spring training where his performance earned him a 50 FV grade and a ranking on FanGraphs Prospects updated top 100 prospects. He’s currently the only 17-year old ranked in their top 100.
His professional career began in an official capacity last week when the Giants assigned him to one of their rookie-level Arizona League affiliates. Luciano is one of the five youngest position players in the league and, much like Heliot Ramos at High-A, he would live up to expectations simply by holding his own and putting together good at-bats.
He’s done more than just hold his own, though.
Since going 0-for-9 with three strikeouts in his first two games, he’s been on an absolute tear.
In the four games since that slow start, he’s gone 10-for-18 with two doubles, one triple, and three home runs, drawing two walks and striking out three times.
“You try not to cast too much judgment 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,” president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said on KNBR (via NBC Sports Bay Area). “But when a guy goes out and makes that much noise early on, it’s pretty exciting.”
Obviously, this is an absurdly small sample size. But, I’ll remind you it took Rafael Rodriguez three seasons to hit three home runs.
Does this mean Luciano is guaranteed for stardom?
Of course not, but it’s certainly a nice first step in that direction.
Marco Luciano was already one of the most exciting teenagers in all of organized baseball and he’ll have San Francisco Giants fans checking the Arizona League box scores on a daily basis this summer if he keeps it up.