It’s the time of year when baseball publications are releasing their lists of top prospects, and we’ve seen a common theme with the San Francisco Giants: prospect analysts are pretty high on 19 year old left side infielder Marco Luciano, but a little hesitant to put him in the very top tier of prospects.
The Athletic ranked Luciano as the No. 31 prospect in baseball. MLB Pipeline listed him as No. 16. Baseball America had him at No. 12. Baseball Prospectus put him in the top 10, naming him No. 8.
Luciano tops all of those rankings in Kiley McDaniel’s top 100 for ESPN (subscription required). McDaniel, who formerly worked for Fangraphs and numerous MLB teams, ranked Luciano as the No. 7 prospect in all of baseball. But if you want optimism (with a healthy dose of realism sprinkled on top), that comes less in where McDaniel ranked Luciano, and more in what he had to say about the team’s top prospect:
He has played 47 professional games, all in short-season leagues. The concerns essentially end there, as he arguably has the best combination of bat speed, raw power, in-game power and general feel to hit of almost any prospect in recent memory, maybe even including Wander Franco ... you can take Luciano’s building blocks and imagine a Hall of Famer pretty easily, but then just as easily toss him in the bucket of power-over-hit, high-risk flameouts on prospect lists of the past.
Well that has me pretty excited. It’s also worth noting that McDaniel thinks Luciano could potentially end up in right field.
Elsewhere on his list, McDaniel included three other Giants, including one name that we haven’t seen on any other top 100 lists, to my knowledge.
Catcher Joey Bart, who was in Luciano’s spot just one year ago, fell to No. 32 this year. McDaniel notes that the Giants aren’t shopping Bart, but are likely open to getting fair value for him, and says, “He was ranked No. 7 overall at this time last year because he had plus raw power, plus defensive ability behind the plate, plus arm strength, and plus makeup/intangibles and all of that is still true. The concern last year was contact rate and more specifically pitch selection, which has become a bigger concern.”
Outfielder Heliot Ramos comes in at No. 62, with McDaniel warning that “His arm may be his only true plus tool.”
And rounding out the list at No. 100 is the Giants first-round pick in June, catcher Patrick Bailey. McDaniel had a lot of 2020 draftees in his list (including the player many linked to the Giants pre-draft, local catcher Tyler Soderstrom, at No. 76), and had this to say about the NC State backstop: “Bailey has a similar profile to Bart, just not quite as much upside: above-average raw power, defensive acumen, arm strength and intangibles, with some questions on the contact rate.”
That’s now six different Giants who have appeared on top 100 lists this year, as outfielder Hunter Bishop and left-handed pitcher Seth Corry have both shown up on various ones. Two things are clear: the Giants farm is in a much better position than it was a few years ago, and Luciano is a prospect worth dreaming about.