2019 MLB Draft Preview: Hunter Bishop scouting report
The 2019 MLB Draft is just two and a half weeks away — the first round kicks off on June 3, 2019 — its time to start offering capsule looks at players the Texas Rangers could select with their top picks. The Rangers’ first round pick is at #8, their second round pick is at #50, and they have Milwaukee’s competitive balance pick, acquired in the Alex Claudio trade, which is #41.
Leading up to draft day, we will be doing writeups of some of the players who could end up getting selected by the Rangers with one of their first three picks. Today, we are looking at Arizona State outfielder Hunter Bishop.
Hunter Bishop is a 6’5”, 210 lb., lefthanded hitting and righthanded throwing outfielder in his junior season at Arizona State. Bishop was ranked #96 on the Baseball America top 500 board in 2016 as a two-sport guy as a high school senior, but his bonus demands led to him dropping all the way to the 24th round, when the San Diego Padres drafted him, but were unable to sign him. BA described him as having at the time “an exciting package of athleticism, power and speed,” and his strong junior season has put to rest at least some of the questions about his hit tool. He’s fast, he has a good arm, and he has 70 raw power, so while there are some concerns he may move to a corner outfield spot from center field, he’s still considered one of the top players in the draft.
Baseball America has Bishop ranked #7 currently on their top 400 list, saying he projects as an average hitter, which, combined with his other tools, would make him a very solid major leaguer. MLB Pipeline also has Bishop ranked at #7 on their board, saying that his bat speed and power make up for the significant swing-and-miss in his game. Keith Law has Bishop at #8 on his board, as does Fangraphs.
In the latest MLB Pipeline mock draft, Bishop is projected to go to the Rangers at #8 by
Jonathan Mayo, Jim Callis, acknowledging that Texas is rumored to be looking at below-slot deals but saying that for this projection they’ve opted to “play it straight.” Keith Law, in his mock, has Bishop going to Atlanta at #9, one spot behind Texas, as does Fangraphs. Baseball America has Bishop going to Texas in their most recent mock.
Bishop would be a Ranger-y pick at #8, even though he’s a college player, given that he has the loud tools and the upside the Rangers like. Also, for a system that is currently heavy on pitching but relatively light in bats, Bishop would help provide a little balance to the system. Its a pick that makes sense, as reflected in where Bishop is projected to go in these mocks, particularly given that there seems to be a growing consensus that Adley Rutschmann, Bobby Witt Jr., Andrew Vaughn, C.J. Abrams, J.J. Bleday, and Riley Greene are expected to go in the top 6, with Nick Lodolo likely going to the Reds at #7 (or, if Lodolo goes off the board before then, taking the guy in the top 6 who drops to them). A lot can change in the next two and a half weeks, but if that’s how things shake out, either Hunter Bishop or Corbin Carroll would be your chalk pick at #8.
That said, whether Bishop is an option depends largely on how the Rangers opt to allocate their bonus pool. Everyone has acknowledged that the Rangers are looking at potential below-slot deal, and Bishop is likely to go in the 8-12 range, so he’s not incentivized to go below-slot with the Rangers. If the Rangers opt to go below-slot at #8 to spend money elsewhere, Bishop won’t be the guy.