When you have the No. 3 overall pick, it’s never too soon to take a quick peek into this year’s MLB draft. This year’s draft class is loaded with excellent hitting prospects, but is relatively weak on the pitching side.
Draft Prospects You Should Know is a new series that features prospects who the White Sox could pursue in this year’s draft. As the June draft nears, we’ll return to many of these athletes and provide updates on whether their stocks are rising (or falling).
Age listed as of Day One of the Draft (June 3).
Baseball America 8
Prior to this season, Bishop (6´4´´, 215 pounder) was a highly-talented outfielder who had posted disappointing stats for the Sun Devils of Arizona State. Because of this, he’s still unranked by MLB Pipeline, but that’s only because the site has yet to update its preseason rankings. However, with Bishop’s lofty results thus far in 2019, he’s garnered plenty of upper first-round consideration. Here are Bishop’s stats through April 17, 2019:
2017: 51 G, 153 AB, .301/.363/.484, 5 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 25 RBIs, 4-of-4 SB, 15 BB, 44 Ks
2018: 49 G, 140 AB, .250/.352/.407, 5 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 26 RBIs, 4-of-8 SB, 18 BB, 50 Ks
2019: 34 G, 133 AB, .391/.518/.902, 11 2B, 3 3B, 17 HR, 43 RBIs, 11-of-16 SB, 30 BB, 29 Ks
Not mentioned above are his two seasons (2017-18) in the Cape Cod League, where he combined to post the following numbers:
74 G, 224 AB, .223/.358/.330, 7 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 30 RBIs, 17-of-29 SB, 44 BB, 82 Ks
So Hunter Bishop, brother of Mariners prospect Braden, definitely is a difficult guy to figure. He has the talent to do what he’s done so far this year in the competitive Pac-12. However, his sophomore results with the Sun Devils and sluggish two-year results in the wooden bat Cape Cod League certainly merit their share of scrutiny as well.
With that said, something has certainly clicked for Bishop in 2019. His strikeout rate is at 17.26% this year, a significant drop from his 28.0% over his first two college years. Bishop’s walk rate is at 17.86% this year, a vast improvement over his previous two-year average of 9.82%. His home run rate is an amazing 10.12% through April 17; his previous totals only produced a 3.0% rate.
According to Baseball America, Bishop has refined his plate approach, not only increasing bat speed but covering the plate better, with “70-grade raw power.” BA also likes Bishop sticking in center field, crediting his size and speed as something that will translate in the pros. FanGraphs touts him as a “super-athletic XL-framed corner outfielder who is starting to turn the corner at the plate, has 60 speed and 65 raw power”. There’s certainly a lot to like: 60+ speed and power, with an above-average glove and arm.
Would the White Sox consider Bishop with the third overall pick? Bishop has certainly skyrocketed his way up from fifth round consideration to one of the most sought-after bats in this year’s draft. Despite his amazing tools, there are some red flags: His lack of consistency, poor showing in the Cape Cod League, and hit tool that seems to be improving but still may be graded kindly at 50.
If Adley Rutschman or Andrew Vaughn fall to the Sox, they will no doubt pounce. However, things get a bit murky if they are off the board. Chicago’s preference for college players has been well-stated; the best remaining college options may include southpaw TCU pitcher Nick Lodolo, shortstop Bryson Stott from UNLV, Vanderbilt outfielder J.J. Bleday, and Bishop. Prep options include shortstops Bobby Witt, Jr. (my personal favorite) and C.J. Abrams, along with outfielders Riley Greene and Corbin Carroll.
All these players have their warts, but with the third overall pick, you want the surest thing possible. Bishop’s talent is certainly not the concern; if the Sox truly believe that Bishop’s hitting issues have been fixed long-term, they ultimately will think long and hard about Bishop with that all-important pick.
Here’s a video of Bishop, courtesy of Arizona State Baseball and the Pac-12 Network:
Previously, on Draft Prospects You Should Know
Cameron Cannon, University of Arizona 2B/3B
Matt Cronin, University of Arkansas LHRP
Tyler Dyson, University of Florida RHSP
Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy RHSP
Rece Hinds, IMG Baseball Academy (Fla.) 3B
Jason Hodges, Marist (Ill.) H.S. OF-1B
Jack Leiter, Delbarton (N.J.) H.S. RHSP
Chris Newell, Malvern (Pa.) Prep H.S. OF
Quinn Priester, Cary-Grove (Ill.) H.S. RHSP
Adley Rutschman, Oregon State University C
Andrew Vaughn, University of California, 1B
Matt Wallner, Southern Miss University OF