A speedy center fielder who hits with tremendous power will be available in Monday’s Major League Baseball Draft. 20-year-old Hunter Bishop, center fielder for the Arizona State Sun Devils of the loaded Pac-12 Conference, is expected to go high. Not only is he putting up strong numbers now, but he also has a high ceiling. This should see him getting picked early.
Hunter Bishop 2019 Draft Profile
Hunter Bishop is a tremendous hitter. In 2019, he collected 74 hits in 213 at-bats, giving him a .347 batting average. Of those hits, 55% went for extra bases – 15 doubles, four triples, and 22 home runs. His 22 round-trippers put him in a five-way tie for sixth in Division I. This gives him a power grade of 70. His contact started low when he reached Arizona State, but it has improved, giving him a rating of 50. The main reason for the improvement is that he is striking out less often – 22.7% (58 out of 256 plate appearances) in 2019 as opposed to 31.6% (50 out of 158) during his sophomore year.
He also has good speed, having a grade of 60. This allows him to cover much ground in center field, giving him a fielding grade of 55. Due to his height (6’5”), there is speculation that he might move to a corner outfield position as his career progresses, but his speed is high enough that he could probably remain in center without trouble.
His only weakness is his arm, and even that isn’t a cause for concern, as it has a grade of 50. Since he doesn’t have a cannon, if he moves to a corner outfield position as his career progresses, look for him to go to left field as opposed to right.
Last Word on Hunter Bishop
Bishop has tremendous potential. It has been said many times that you can’t coach speed, so that gives him a leg up on a lot of other prospects. What can be coached is contact – and since his strikeout rate is what needs the most improvement, he has a high ceiling.
Some projections have him going either seventh or eighth, but don’t be surprised if he goes top five. Hitters like Bishop who come armed with his potential tend to be coveted. Furthermore, you can’t coach speed – something Bishop has plenty of.
Arizona State has sent several outstanding outfielders to the majors through the years – Reggie Jackson, Rick Monday, Barry Bonds, Hubie Brooks, Andre Ethier, Brett Butler, and Ken Landreaux, just to name a few. If Bishop develops the way some expect him to, he could be another great Sun Devil outfielder who sees success at the major league level.
All draft ratings were taken from the Top 100 page at MLB.com.
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