Farhan Zaidi outlines defensive plan for top SF Giants middle infield prospect

Philadelphia Phillies v San Francisco Giants
Philadelphia Phillies v San Francisco Giants / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages
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The SF Giants cut ties with veteran infielder Nick Ahmed on Tuesday. On the other hand, Marco Luciano remains in Sacramento, but team president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi told Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area that the club plans to have Luciano split time at second base and shortstop going forward.

Farhan Zaidi outlines defensive plan for top SF Giants middle infield prospect

This is not entirely new territory. After all, Luciano has been seeing starts at second base with the River Cats over the past month. Though, much of his workload in the field is still occurring at shortstop.

However, Zaidi's plan does suggest less confidence in Luciano's ability to stick at shortstop than in the past. The Giants' top executive wanted to give the young infielder every chance to be the starting shortstop in 2024. That did not necessarily come to fruition with the addition of Ahmed.

Ahmed was not meant to block Luciano at shortstop, but rather to serve as a bridge for when the 22-year-old prospect was ready. Now, Ahmed is no longer with the club and Luciano remains in Triple-A.

When Luciano began the season in Sacramento, manager Bob Melvin tasked him with improving his defense. However, the defensive woes continued as he has committed eight errors in 44 games in Triple-A. Plus, he recorded five more errors with the Giants in his brief time with the club earlier this year.

Luciano's bat has always been his calling card. He generates excellent bat speed and often makes loud contact. However, the offensive numbers have not been there yet. He is slashing just .230/.368/.319 (83 wRC+) with three home runs, 26 RBI, and 33 runs in 250 plate appearances in Triple-A.

On a positive note, the right-handed bat has shown some nice improvement in controlling the strike zone. He is limiting his chase rate better than he has in the past, leading to a 17.2 percent walk rate. However, he still has a 29.2 percent strikeout rate. There is always going to be some swing-and-miss inherent with Luciano's bat.

The question remains defense. That has been the question since the Giants signed him as a 16-year-old international free agent back in 2018. For years, the organization has reaffirmed its commitment to him at shortstop. However, the plan to divert some of his playing time to second base is a modest shift.

Generally speaking, if a team was committed to a player at a specific position, he would continue to see playing time at that position. Luciano will still see time at shortstop, but it does suggest that the Giants may not see him as a shortstop as confidently as they once did.