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Report: Marco Luciano will be called up today

The team’s top hitting prospect has played just six games for Triple-A Sacramento, but the Giants think he’s ready.

San Francisco Giants Photo Day Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Eight days after promoting him to Triple-A, the San Francisco Giants appear set to promote the 15th-best prospect in Baseball, their #1 hitting prospect and #2 overall prospect, Marco Luciano, to the majors. This is one of the biggest surprises in recent Giants history.

Luciano has played just six games for the River cats, hitting .292/.37/.625 (.995) with 2 home runs, 2 doubles, and 8-3 K-BB against Triple-A pitching. That makes a callup for tonight’s game a natural extension of his development, given that the A’s feature a Triple-A roster.

Alex Pavlovic’s report about this move doesn’t offer up any direct quotes, but I’m sure we’ll get those soon enough. Exactly one week ago, Brady offered these reasons for why we might not see Luciano anytime soon:

- He’s historically struggled when starting new levels so he might not even play well in Sacramento.

- Unlike Schmitt, Luciano has yet to play an inning at any position in his career other than shortstop, so there’s no path for him unless Crawford is injured or he starts playing first, second, third, or the outfield.

- They might not want to start his service clock.

- We’re nearing the trade deadline and the Giants might add veteran depth at the middle infield positions.

- Estrada might be back before too terribly long.

That hot start and the team’s dire need for offense — and even a boost in defense — at shortstop certainly takes care of the first two points. Point three looks like it’s been answered by the front office coming to the conclusion that the risk of not playing him is greater than playing him. His defense combined with his hot start must be good enough to have compelled the front office to make this move in what’s a pretty clear sign that what’s available on the trade market doesn’t fit their middle infield needs in the absence of Thairo Estrada, who won’t be back until next month. As for Brandon Crawford? Well, per Pavlovic, he’s scheduled to return this weekend, but they won’t let him block their #1 hitting prospect. Casey Schmitt and/or David Villar, on the other hand? Either could use a reset in Triple-A.

Today will be one of the most exciting days in San Francisco Giants history. Yes, the team has promoted several top prospects throughout the years, and because of the nature of player development, it doesn’t always work out; but, here’s a player with all the sheen — the promise — of a five-tool superstar. The very kind of player the team has chased since the end of the championship era.

Luciano’s ceiling could put him as close to the Bonds strata as any other player the Giants have employed this century. Did you ever think you’d live to see the day that the Giants might have a five-tool superstar? Former McCovey Chronicles minor league guru Roger Munter had this to say last month when I checked in with him about the farm system:

I’ve been impressed with the way he’s moving at shortstop lately. Two months ago, I thought he was a little stiff-looking as he was coming back from the back injury, but he’s looked pretty good out there this year. I do think there’s still a potential outcome where he’s a shortstop hitting 35 home runs. I don’t think that possibility has set sail yet.

Roger added that Luciano entered this season with a goal of working deeper counts. This had the effect of causing his strikeouts to go up and average to go down, but what Roger observed — and the team’s internals clearly demonstrate — is that the quality of his at bats actually improved. He was not chasing pitches out of the zone, merely working himself into pitcher’s counts more often, but still doing tremendous damage to strikes. Behold, his two Triple-A home runs:

Luciano was once one of the shiniest prospects in all the land. But then injuries set back his development and de-sparkled him. As Roger noted earlier this year on his Substack:

We should probably talk about the concept of “Prospect Fatigue.”

Because I get the sense that that’s where people are with Marco Luciano at this point. As he continues to rehab, other, shinier prospects grab our attention with new, honest-to-god highlights and the former prodigy fades in our minds and hearts a little.


The one time #12 overall prospect in baseball for Baseball America, he entered this year’s Top 100 at #36. At Baseball Prospectus, the slide has been more modest — but still there, from a high of #8 to a current #18. Fangraphs just dropped the real bomb, however, when they nearly moved him out of their Top 100 altogether, listing him way down at #97, with a Future Value grade of 50 (league average starter), two years after slotting him at #8 with a 60 FV (All Star).

This kid has worked very hard after a stress fracture in his lower back, playing so well this season that he has all but stepped back into the peak projection many people saw for him, and if Roger’s on the ground assessment winds up being more accurate, Luciano still has room to surprise everyone in the industry. At the beginning of 2022, FanGraphs tagged him with a 55 Future Value rating, concluding:

His likely relocation from a premium up-the-middle position, combined with his High-A growing pains, is enough to keep him from being considered baseball’s best prospect — an honorific that, had both of those factors broken more in his favor, seemed possible as of last year’s report — but his bat still provides more than enough potential to project him as a future major league All-Star.

He was the top middle infielder in the 2018 international class, but the industry consensus even through most of this season still sees that defense being a liability. MLB Pipeline notes:

Though Luciano has a strong arm and a high baseball IQ, most scouts outside the organization believe he’ll have to move off shortstop. He has fringy speed and range that are better suited for third base or right field, where he could be a solid defender. His offensive game will profile at any position.

Roger Munter, technically a scout outside the organization, doesn’t quite see an urgent need to move him off shortstop, and I’m sticking with him — and this highlight — for the time being:

This one play is hardly conclusive, but it’s worth noting that the Giants probably aren’t rushing him to the big leagues if he’s not going to stick at shortstop in the short-term. But for the sake of fairness, I will say that Pipeline’s other scouting bits about Luciano have absolutely been proven out:

Luciano’s most notable asset is his lightning-fast bat speed [...] he does use the entire field and will accept walks when pitchers decline to challenge him. He’ll always be a power-over-hit guy but his natural ability and aptitude for making adjustments could mean that he’s a .270 hitter with 35 homers per season.

Mm-hmm. Yep. I see it. We all see it. If the hitting/power part of the scouting report stays accurate, I’m willing to concede the defensive part of it. The real question is whether or not Marco Luciano will concede. The rookie has already demonstrated an elite work ethic.

Back in Spring Training 2021, Luciano had this to say about his career trajectory:

I think if I continue doing what I’m doing right now, and I have a regular season, a full season, under me and I keep showing the team that I’m ready, I think a year would be my timetable.

We all know that the back injury derailed his 2022, so if not for that, maybe Luciano’s bold prediction might’ve materialized. You can’t say that kid doesn’t have his eyes on the prize. He has worked very hard for this moment and it’s one of those rare times that ambition, talent, team scouting and team need are all in agreement. Luciano never doubted himself and once he regained his health he hit the ground running. This front office obliged him.

What if he simply decides to be a good shortstop? I won’t bet against him right now.

Who knows what the future will hold, but here’s another example of the Giants being able to dip into their farm system to address an urgent need. Is there, perhaps, a nonzero chance that this is some sort of desperation move? Yes. BUT! Ignore that for a moment.

None of us can know what the next few weeks will be like for Luciano or if he’ll be as big of a help to the team as they need the 21-year old to be, but as we gear up to lose our minds with excitement over this news, let’s also take a breath and enjoy that after chasing it for so many years, the Giants have finally caught up to their future.