He's baaack: Luciano's first '23 hit showcases power

May 5th, 2023

just got back into the swing of things.

After missing the opening month of the season due to a stress fracture in his lower back, MLB Pipeline's No. 20 overall prospect went yard in his second game of the campaign for Double-A Richmond on Thursday.

Luciano put his 65-grade power on display in the third inning against Altoona righty Sean Sullivan, pulling a line drive to left field over the fence at The Diamond for his first hit of the regular season with the Flying Squirrels.

The No. 2 Giants prospect, who suffered the stress fracture while playing for Estrellas Orientales in the Dominican Winter League, went 0-for-4 with a walk in his 2023 debut Wednesday before going 1-for-3 with another base on balls in his second outing as Richmond fell, 6-3.

There are a lot of expectations on Luciano this season, particularly offensively. The 21-year-old showed he was up to the challenge last year by posting a 121 wRC+ last season for High-A Eugene, where he hit 10 homers in 57 games. The Giants sent him to the Flying Squirrels for the Eastern League playoffs, and he collected an RBI single in his first appearance with them on Sept. 20.

Any chance for the seventh-ranked shortstop prospect in the game to reach the Major Leagues by next season will likely hinge upon continued success at the plate. And if Thursday's dinger is any indication, not only does his home run swing not seem to have been hampered by the back injury, but his bat flip is already in midseason form too.