One of the San Francisco Giants key strengths this year has been the ability to get strong performances from their prospects. They know how to call up the right player at the right time. Players like Patrick Bailey, Blake Sabol, Luis Matos, and Casey Schmitt have all had high moments this year. Consistency has by no means been achieved, but we’re probably used to the Giants being a streaky team by now. Most recently, the Giants made the decision to call up top prospect Marco Luciano to the majors. He made his debut Wednesday night, going hitless in two at-bats.
Giants Call Up Luciano
At age 21, Luciano is very young for a guy getting his first taste of the big leagues. But he rose quickly through the minor league system. His talent and development as a player kept him at the top of the Giants list. And now, they’ve decided he’s the right guy to call up.
It’s clear that he is seen as a superstar of the future. But the question is: can he produce immediately? Prospects always vary in the amount of time it takes them to establish themselves in the big leagues. With the Giants in contention right now, Luciano could be a tremendous asset to the Giants playoff run if he performs well. After all, they are coming off a poor hitting streak, and they have to right the ship.
A related question is whether Luciano can stick around when Brandon Crawford comes off the IL. Crawford has put up only a .618 OPS, so Luciano would be a better fit for the starting shortstop role if he turns out to be good. Ultimately, it remains to be seen whether he will be on the playoff roster if the Giants make it there.
Marco Luciano receives a warm welcome by @SFGiants fans before his first MLB at-bat.
And then he gets another ovation following a 338-foot out. pic.twitter.com/4wb7g7Mi7a
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 27, 2023
The Key in Dealing With Young Players
The key for the Giants is having the 26 best players on their roster at all times. This means that if Luciano performs well, they should not option him to limit his service time. Some teams will call up a guy and send him down just so he won’t become a free agent too soon. That is a bad practice. MLB should really put in a rule against that, but as of right now they only have a limit on the amount of times a player can be optioned.
Service time manipulation is nonsensical as well as unfair. The prime of a guy’s career comes up when it comes up. You have to take full advantage of it and let him play.
The flip side to this is that the Giants shouldn’t remain committed to keeping Luciano on the roster if he can’t perform. Sometimes you have to give a prospect a chance, and shouldn’t make too much from a small sample size. But the Giants need to constantly expect on-field performance from their big-league players. When a guy has an issue, the minors is probably the place to work on it.
Luciano’s Future With the Giants After Call-Up
The trade deadline is coming up, but the Giants almost certainly will not trade Luciano. He is a prospect that they consider worth his weight in gold. Ideally, he will be able to help the Giants both now and in the future. Right now, it is important for him to continue seeing at-bats. The Giants will give him an extended look in the starting lineup.
If the Giants have found in Luciano a high-quality bat and glove, it will help them significantly down the stretch. The playoff race might come down to things like this. The best teams are the ones that call up the best players at the right times. It will be exciting to see where Luciano fits in as the fight for the NL West gets more intense.
Photo Credit- Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports