Written by: Danny Brackman
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After two solid-but-unspectacular seasons of college ball, Hunter Bishop exploded in his draft-eligible junior season for Arizona State, somehow out-OPS’ing his fellow teammate Spencer Torkelson. That was enough to vault him to a 10th overall selection by the San Francisco Giants in 2019. Bishop has flashed an intriguing power-speed blend with top-tier athleticism, though concerns about extending his 2019 breakout exist. Even though there was no MiLB season in 2020, it appears Bishop has been working to answer those questions.
During his college days, Bishop’s swing featured a heavy pre-pitch coil that some hitters use to minimize noise in the load. In Bishop’s case, this seemed to stiffen him up and hurt more than it helped, resulting in swing-and-miss issues and inconsistent production. More recently at 2020 Fall Instructs, it looks like he’s emphasized being much looser in the box. As seen in the video below from college, he is standing upright with his hands up and his legs and hips practically locked in position before the pitch.
In the next video from the fall, he starts with the bat on his shoulder and appears to gather into a coil position when the pitcher begins his motion. This looks much more fluid, letting Bishop react better and utilize his natural athleticism. He’s had his issues with Ks and barrel accuracy, so this is a promising adjustment. Likewise, his ability to adjust and simply be coach-able is equally encouraging for his long-term development.
Summary & Dynasty Outlook:
Not many individuals in MiLB possess the athletic ability of Hunter Bishop. He’s a true competitor who has made big strides in a short period since committing to baseball full-time. At Fall Instructs, reports were that he posted an OPS over 1.000, which was the highest of any hitter in the SF organization. The offensive potential is clear–he has catalytic traits capable of carrying an offense, even if he likely won’t need to with the other faces the organization is grooming. He’s capable of playing a decent center, covering up ground well with his speed. In 2021, Bishop is likely to be challenged with his assignments with a potential MLB debut post-ASB. He may struggle at times, but his willingness to adapt shows why you should stick with him through thick and thin. I personally ranked Bishop #34 overall in our recent aggregated PWW Dynasty Rankings, so I’m higher on Bishop than most. However, especially in OBP formats, the 5-category production capability is hard to deny.