SF Giants prospects: Midseason 2021 rankings
1. Marco Luciano, SS
Highest Level: High-A (Eugene)
Acquired: IFA (2018)
Future-Value Grade: 60
Sometimes the least controversial opinion is absolutely the right one. While there are dozens of tantalizing prospects throughout the SF Giants farm system, no one eclipses the status of shortstop Marco Luciano as the best prospect in the organization. Scouts have seen 70-80 grade power potential in him since he was 15 alongside the plus hitting potential that could one day make him the best hitter on the planet. There’s a case to be made that no prospect in MLB has a higher ceiling, especially at the plate.
In Luciano’s two minor-league seasons, the story has been quite similar. In his first taste of professional ball in 2019, the Giants brought Luciano stateside for what was supposed to be a challenge in the Arizona Rookie League. In 47 games, Luciano bashed 10 home runs and posted a .322/.438/.616 line before a late-season promotion to Salem-Keizer where he recorded strong peripherals with limited production before a hamstring injury ended his season. Thus far in 2021, he has followed a similar arc.
Luciano began this season at Low-A San Jose, roughly two years younger than the average player in the league. After a slow start, Luciano heated up and quickly climbed the league’s leaderboards. By the time he was promoted to High-A, Luciano was hitting .278/.373/.556 with 18 home runs.
It’s been a struggle for Luciano since he arrived at Eugene, but nearly four years younger than the average player in the league, there’s not too much grounds for concerns. His strikeout rate has spiked above 40%, but his at-bats have been consistently improving since his arrival. I’ve yet to talk to anyone in the industry who expressed any doubts about Luciano’s ability to one day be at least be an above-average MLB hitter.
Defensively, scouts are far more split on where he will end up. While Luciano’s on the larger side for a shortstop and still has room to add weight, he has the arm to stick and took some major strides even without a minor-league season in 2020. Luciano has clearly prioritized trying to stay at shortstop and I’m willing to bet on him finding a way to remain there going forward.
Friend and fellow Giants prospect writer Roger Munter offhand mentioned current Giants slugger Kris Bryant as a potential outcome for Luciano, and I haven’t been able to find a better comp. Luciano has the frame, arm, and athleticism to move around the infield and outfield while hitting for average and power from a quiet and compact swing. As I mentioned earlier, I think he’ll be more viable at shortstop at least through his mid-20s, but given the mechanics of modern defense, that means less now than it did 10 years ago.
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