Being a first-round pick will always come with lofty expectations as teams expect that prospect to blossom into an everyday contributor. However, that is not always the case, but one former SF Giants first-rounder is beginning to thrive as a pro.
Former SF Giants 1st round pick beginning to meet lofty expectations
Hunter Bishop was selected in the first round of the 2019 draft by the Giants out of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Based on draft pedigree and quality tools, Bishop was generally regarded as one of the top prospects in baseball, ranking as high as No. 68 according to Baseball Prospectus prior to the 2020 season.
However, things have not gone according to plan and some of that was not within his control. For example, the 2020 minor league season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it was a lost year of development for a lot of prospects.
Of course, Bishop's case was compounded by the fact that he has battled shoulder and ankle injuries. The shoulder injury is an issue that has plagued him since his college days.
These injuries kept him out for much of the 2021 season. In total, Bishop registered a rough .133/.286/.178 line with no home runs, four RBI, and seven runs in 56 plate appearances last year. 32 of those plate appearances came as part of a rehab assignment with the Arizona Complex League (ACL) Giants.
He did receive an invite to play for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League (AFL) last year as well. This was good exposure for a prospect with limited pro experience.
The left-handed bat slashed .262/.373/.381 with no home runs, eight RBI, and four runs while earning an AFL All-Star nod.
Bishop spent the offseason strengthening his shoulder and that appears to be paying dividends. He got off to a slow start, but he has been on a tear recently. Since June 1, the 24-year-old outfield prospect has posted a .916 OPS with eight home runs, 24 RBI, and 25 runs in 132 plate appearances with the Eugene Emeralds in High-A.
On the year, he has a .749 OPS with a 9.5 percent walk rate against a 33.6 percent strikeout rate. Bishop might be a three-true-outcomes type of hitter as he should hit for plenty of power, generate walks at a healthy rate, and strike out a lot.
This is Bishop's most encouraging stretch of play since being drafted. The Giants will hope that he can continue this pace as they will have a decision to make on him in the offseason. He will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft in the offseason and they can protect him from it by adding him to the 40-man roster.
That is tough to do for a player who might not even have experience above High-A at the end of this season. However, that is a conversation for a different day. The good news is that Bishop is healthy and performing well.