SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants spent their first-round selection in Monday’s opening session of the MLB Draft on a multi-talented, left-handed-hitting outfielder possessing power and speed who attended Serra High School and Arizona State University.
Barry Bonds 2.0? Well, it would be unfair to compare a college junior to baseball’s all-time home run leader. But Hunter Bishop, whom the Giants drafted 10th overall, not only matches Bonds’ personal profile, he has ambition that soars as high as a Bondsian home run.
Growing up in Northern California, Bishop was inevitably drawn to Bonds. He recalled attending Giants games with his father, Randy, and his brother, Braden, and watching Bonds slam baseballs toward San Francisco Bay.
“Barry was the best ever to do it,” Bishop said.
Director of amateur scouting Michael Holmes said that Bishop has enough power to qualify for playing an outfield corner, though he has a center fielder’s skills. Holmes added that drafting Bishop and second-rounder Logan Wyatt, a first baseman from the University of Louisville, partly reflected the surplus of available hitters.
Wyatt, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 230 pounds, slashed .291/.461./473 with nine home runs and 52 RBIs while starting 63 games.
“I think I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there were certain aspects that we wanted to address,” Holmes said. “But on the flip side of that, sometimes I think that you have to be willing to adapt to where you think the strength of the Draft is. We obviously thought the strength of the Draft this year was on the offensive side.”
Bishop met his idol a couple of years ago when Bonds visited his Sun Devil successors.
“I don’t get starstruck, really, but I was starstruck at that moment,” he said.
Watching Bonds helps sustain Bishop’s belief that he can thrive at Oracle Park despite the outfield’s dimension and walls that frequently thwart batted balls.
“I definitely know it’s a big ballpark,” he said. “But you see guys like Barry hit it out all the time. So if you’ve got power, you can hit it out anywhere.”
Bonds isn’t the only big name Bishop would love to emulate. Asked to compare himself with a current Major Leaguer, he cited “a mix” of two of the game’s best outfielders: Los Angeles’ Cody Bellinger and Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich.
“I think I swing more like Cody Bellinger, but I think I can run and play defense like Christian Yelich. I think in the future I can grow into players like that and develop,” said Bishop, who has the potential to embody the athleticism the Giants seek. He stands 6-foot-5, weighs 210 pounds and is said to be able to run the 60-yard dash in 6.4 seconds.
But don’t think for a second that Bishop’s self-image is a tad inflated.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do,” he repeated during a conference call with reporters. The 20-year-old compiled impressive statistics this year as a junior, including a .347/.473/.765 slash line with 22 home runs and 61 RBIs in 54 regular-season games. But just one season ago, he slashed only .250/.352/.407 with five homers and 26 RBIs.
Since then he has worked overtime on refining his hitting mechanics -- “Eliminating the moving parts to my swing,” he said -- and his approach at the plate.
Big brother Braden -- who just happens to be a rookie outfielder with the Seattle Mariners -- helped, too. Any difficulties Hunter endured, Braden had experienced them, too, and could ease his brother’s mind with advice.
So Hunter was gratified when Braden FaceTimed on Monday to offer congratulations and express his pride.
“That was one of the coolest moments of my life,” he said.
The Giants hope to capture the same magic from Bishop they did with their previous pair of No. 10 overall selections: right-hander Tim Lincecum (2006) and left-hander Madison Bumgarner (2007), who have won a combined 221 regular-season games and helped lead San Francisco to World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET. Go to MLB.com/Draft for complete coverage, including every pick on Draft Tracker, coverage and analysis from MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft and @MLBDraftTracker on Twitter.