Marco Luciano, SS
BATS: R / THROWS: R
ACQUIRED: International Signing, July 2018
LAST LEVEL: High-A
GiantFutures 2022 Ranks: #1 Shortstop, #1 Overall
Performance: It was Marco Luciano’s full-season debut, and as what could be predicted, he was challenged. His pro debut in 2019 had been sensational in the AZL, so expectations were a bit high. The Giants put Luciano in Low-A San Jose, and it took a couple of weeks before he really got into gear. The results at San Jose were solid, as he hit .278, but hit 18 home runs in 70 games and walked 38 times to 68 strikeouts.
The production was enough for Marco to get a late-season promotion to High-A Eugene, but that was a real challenge. Luciano hit a home run in his second game at the level, but didn’t hit another for the month-plus he was there. He began striking out more than once every three at-bats at the level, and was held to a .283 on-base percentage and a .295 slugging at the level.
Luciano also continued one of the most unusual quirks in his offensive game: an extreme reverse split, doing much better against right-handed pitchers. For 2021, he had a .849 OPS against RHP, with just a .671 OPS against LHP. He’d shown that split in his debut 2019 as well, but in a short season, unusual splits aren’t too uncommon in with the smaller sample size.
Strengths and Weaknesses: Luciano’s intelligence and power at the plate remain his biggest strength. He’s impressed coaches and scouts at his ability to make plans at the plate and mostly stick to them, and to punish mistake pitches, consistently having some of the best exit velocities in the system. Although he can obviously become aggressive, he shows an ability to accept walks when the pitcher is working around him. He needs to improve to bring up the batting average a bit, but the power with which he makes regular contact makes up for it easily.
In the field, Luciano remains raw, but the raw skills are there. What he lacks in speed in the field, he makes up for with a good baseball IQ, improved mechanics in the field and a strong arm. Reading across scouting reports, there remains a division between those expecting him to stick at short, and those who see him moving to third. A bigger question might become whether he moves to third before he makes the big leagues, or later in his career. At least one writer even brought up the outfield, though I doubt his range would make that a good choice. I’m erring on the side of shortstop for now, though the artificial turf in Eugene will be a huge test.
If there’s any hole in Luciano’s game, it’s his speed, as he’s just around average now and might get slower as he adds more muscle. But with his power, the speed won’t be a major minus in his game anyway.
2022 Outlook: A return to Eugene and renewed expectations. Baseball America talks about how he’s gained a reputation as a slow starter. But I expect that his first two full years will mimic Heliot Ramos’. Ramos had some struggles at Low-A his first full year, but was sensational at High-A the following year. I think this will be a great year for Marco.
Future Profile: I mean, what can you say? He’s the unanimous top prospect in the system, he’s in most national writer’s Top 50 prospects in baseball. It’s expected that he’ll not just be a star infielder, but an All-Star type of player. It’s a lot of expectations for a young player, but all signs still say that Marco can reach those expectations.