SF Giants prospects: Midseason 2021 rankings
15. Hunter Bishop, OF
Highest Level: High-A (Eugene)
Acquired: Draft (2019)
Future-Value Grade: 40+
A borderline top-100 prospect in MLB heading into the year, Hunter Bishop’s scouting report remains virtually unchanged. However, unable to get on the field while dealing with a recurring shoulder injury, evaluators have virtually no more information about Bishop than they had at the beginning of the year. That added uncertainty knocked Bishop out of the organization’s top ten.
A Bay Area native, Bishop’s powerful 6’5”, 210-pound frame generates 70-grade power potential and flashes 60-grade speed, but it took a significant swing change heading into his junior year at Arizona State to finally perform like an elite prospect. He exploded out of the gate and finished his final collegiate season with a monstrous .347/.473/.765 line and 22 home runs. The SF Giants gambled on his upside and selected him with the 10th overall pick in that summer’s draft.
Bishop played center field in college, and his speed gives him the potential to stick there, but he likely profiles as a future left fielder with above-average range. Regardless, his 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 and nearly 200 strikeouts a year 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.
Of course, Bishop has gotten just 56 plate appearances this season, with 32 of them coming at the Arizona Complex League during various attempts to return from his shoulder injuries. While he’s hit just .133/.286/.178 across that small sample, Bishop has received so few plate appearances during his professional career because of injuries and COVID-19 that I’m more concerned about getting him at-bats than anything else at this point.
Bishop has been out of the lineup at Low-A after finally making his return to full-season ball, suggesting he might have suffered another setback. Assuming he’s healthy, Bishop is a prime candidate to end up in the Arizona Fall League. He’ll probably struggle against the advanced pitching, but it would provide some desperately needed reps against pro pitching before he can hopefully stay on the field and show off his potential in 2022.