2019 Draft Preview: Hunter Bishop

We are writing prospect reports on players the White Sox might select in the June draft. This article is the sixth in our series. You can see the other reports we’ve already posted, here:

Hunter Bishop

School: Arizona State University – Junior
Position: OF
Height/Weight: 6’5” 210
B/T: L/R
D.O.B: 6/25/1998
Previously drafted: San Diego Padres, 24th round, 2016

Scouting Reports:

High School: Hunter David Bishop attended Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, California and was a two-sport athlete. He aided his program to a WCAL state football championship in 2015 and one year later won a WCAL state baseball championship as well. Bishop focused primarily on becoming a Division-I football player and committed to Washington University as a wide receiver.

Despite his pledge to football, Bishop excelled as a baseball player his senior year. The then 18-year-old hit .426 with three home runs, nine doubles, 10 stolen bases and compiled a 1.175 OPS. Bishop was recognized as the WCAL Baseball Player of the Year. The Padres selected him in the 24th round that year, but he did not sign.

Following a breakout senior season, Bishop caught the eye of Arizona State head coach Tracy Smith at a showcase. Smith convinced the pitcher/outfielder at the time to commit to baseball and would ultimately de-commit from Washington in favor of Arizona State University. *Fun fact: Bishop shares the same academic and athletic path as Barry Bonds, who attended Junipero Serra High School and ASU from 1978-1986.

College: After appearing in just 45 high school games, Bishop carried over his success into the Pac-12 and slashed .301/.363/.484 with five home runs in 51 games his freshman year. The offensive production dropped his sophomore season after he hit just .250 in 140 at-bats. Bishop’s ability to get on base did not decline but his swing and miss rate was an evident area of concern for the talented left-handed hitter. He struck out 26 percent of the time as a freshman and saw his strikeout rate rise to an appalling 30 percent as a sophomore.

Following some necessary mechanical changes to his swing in an effort to generate more contact and power, Bishop lowered his strikeout rate to 18 percent his junior year and dominated NCAA play. Making a huge leap as an upperclassman this season, Bishop slashed .347/.473/.765 with 22 home runs, 15 doubles, four triples, 61 RBI and 11 stolen bases. He played in each of ASU’s 54 games and reached base safely in all but three, including 39 straight to begin the year. Bishop also notched 21 multi-hit contests and committed just one error in the outfield among 140 chances (.993 FLD%). His performance earned him the right to be included in this year’s Golden Spikes Award conversation.

Here is his swing in 2017 from 2080 Baseball:

Here is his swing this season courtesy of Prospect Live:

Earlier this month, Baseball America’s Carlos Collazo hopped on the FutureSox podcast to discuss the players projected to fill out this year’s top-10 draft selections. Here is what he had to say about Bishop:

Hunter Bishop kind of is that perfect blend. I’d say he has an argument as the ‘toolsiest’ college player at the top of the class. He is a plus runner, he has plus-plus raw power – some of the best raw power in the class – and he’s had these tools dating back to his high school time. I think there were always questions of how frequently he was going to get to that power and just hit for high average. His first two years at Arizona State he struggled with the bat. This year he’s simplified some things mechanically, quieted down his approach at the plate and actually gotten a bit more aggressive. Previously, he got himself into trouble by being too passive and getting behind into pitcher’s counts early and that hurt him a little bit. This year it’s been an entirely different approach and it’s paid off in a huge way for him. When you look at the top players in this class, he’s the guy who has moved his stock the most. If you want a college guy with upside, Hunter Bishop is a pretty good bet.

Hunter Bishop live, provided by Prospect Pipeline:

Scouting Grades:
Note: These scouting grades are from MLB Pipeline, which ranks Bishop as the 7th best prospect in this draft class.

Hit: 50
Power: 60
Run: 60
Arm: 50
Field: 50
Overall: 55

Prospect Overview and Future Outlook:

Brother of 25-year-old Seattle Mariners prospect Braden Bishop, Hunter’s draft stock skyrocketed thanks largely to his 5-tool skillset, on-base proficiency and Pac-12-leading 22 home runs. Currently, The Athletic ($) projects Bishop to be selected by the Texas Rangers with the 8th pick. Though it is more likely the White Sox commit to Georgia high school shortstop CJ Abrams or California first baseman Andrew Vaughn with their selection, Amateur Scouting Director Nick Hostetler mentioned to 670 the Score that Bishop is among the prospects the Sox are keying on.

Bishop is a high-character athlete who does everything well. His marked offensive improvements come as a result of his quiet hands, simple approach and easy follow through that generates a ton of pop. Bishop’s advanced plate discipline commands the strike zone, which should translate seamlessly to the next level. Plus, he is described as a plus runner who knows how to navigate the base paths and covers a lot of ground in the outfield.

There are legitimate questions surrounding Bishop’s timeframe as he enters the professional scene considering the swing-and-miss concerns along with the fact he is a late bloomer. The White Sox also have a plethora of outfield talent in their farm system, so committing to another project like Bishop would indicate Rick Hahn and the rest of his team have something up their sleeves in the second round and beyond. Still, a team will be snagging a player who has tremendous upside with legitimate potential to translate as a 5-tool player once Bishop is ready for the big leagues.

Learn more about Hunter Bishop:

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