SF Giants top prospects: No. 6 — OF Hunter Bishop
Highest Level: Low-A (Salem-Keizer)
Acquired: Draft (2019)
Future-Value Grade: 50
Hunter Bishop’s combination of power and athleticism first had him on scouts’ radars in high school. He starred as a two-sport athlete and originally committed to play safety at the University of Washington on a football scholarship before changing directions and enrolling at Arizona State.
A San Mateo, California native, Bishop’s powerful 6’5”, 210-pound frame generates 70-grade potential power and flashes 60-grade speed. In his first two seasons at Arizona State, Bishop’s incredible tools did not result in productivity. Entering his junior year, Bishop had just 10 home runs in 100 career games with a middling .276 batting average.
His potential combination of plus-speed and plus-power alone would have still gotten him chosen sometime on Day 2 of the draft. However, late in the summer before his junior year, Bishop reworked his stance and made some adjustments to his approach that would prove valuable. As a junior, he exploded out of the gate and finished the season with a monstrous .347/.473/.765 line that included 22 home runs. The SF Giants were willing to gamble on his upside and selected him with the 10th overall pick in the following draft.
He played center field in college, and his speed gives him the potential to stick there, but he tends to struggle with reads and has an inconsistent arm. As a result, he likely profiles as a future left fielder with above-average range. Still, it’s not out of the question that he could stick in the middle of the diamond.
Bishop’s hit tool will ultimately determine where he ends up. Before his breakout season, Bishop routinely struck out in over 30 percent of his plate appearances and struggled to tap into his power. He trimmed his strikeout rate considerably in 2019, but concerns remain.
His swing is reminiscent of Josh Hamilton, but I see a late-career Curtis Granderson, who posted back-to-back 40-homer seasons with elite walk rates but struck out 180 times a year and posted a .247/.342/.522 triple-slash as a more accurate model for Bishop’s upside. That would make for an above-average player wherever he lined up, but it would be an even bigger win for the organization if he could do it in center field.
The Giants are betting that the strides Bishop made in his junior season were the new normal, not an aberration. The reviews from the alternate site and instructs were quite positive and suggested just that. He’ll likely start 2021 at High-A, with a chance to show off his power in Eugene.