Hunter Bishop certainly made an impression his Northwest League debut.
After seven games in the Rookie-level Arizona League, the Giants' first-round pick in last month's Draft homered and singled as Class A Short Season Salem-Keizer beat Boise, 7-2, on Wednesday night at Volcanoes Stadium.
Gameday box score
The Giants knew they were getting a power bat when they selected Bishop 10th overall out of Arizona State, where he ranked among the Pac-12 Conference leaders with 22 homers and 63 RBIs in his junior season. They were also drafting a local talent -- he was born in San Carlos, California, less than 25 miles from Oracle Park. He attended Serra High School, a promiment Bay Area Catholic school in San Mateo, which put him in some pretty respectable company. The last Giant to attend Serra High and Arizona State? That would be Barry Bonds.
"Obviously, the baseball speaks for itself -- he was the best to ever do it," Bishop said of the seven-time National League MVP. "I'm not comparing myself to the best, but I'm hoping one day I can be up there with him."
Bishop attended plenty of Giants games in his youth and grew up during the best decade in franchise history. The Giants secured their third World Series title in five years when he was a high school junior. Still, as he's projected to be a top corner outfielder with a heavy bat, it makes sense that he envisions mirroring Bonds by one day belting balls into McCovey Cove.
While the comparison to Bonds provides plenty of pressure in itself, combine that with being a top draft pick of your hometown team and you have a recipe for some pretty hefty nerves. But Bishop, the younger brother of Mariners No. 11 prospect Braden Bishop, has adjusted well early in his professional career. Some of that may be attributed to a conversation he had with baseball's all-time home run leader before the Draft.
"[Barry] was one of my favorite players growing up," Bishop said. "I tried to pick his brain about as much as I possibly could. Just listening to him and his stories, how he's dealt with certain situations, it was really cool.
"Everything stuck out to me, but more than anything was his approach to the game and how his mentality was so calm. I like to say 'slow the game down' and he's the epitome of that."
Batting second and playing center field in his first game with the Volcanoes, the 21-year-old showed no signs of nerves in his first plate appearance. He fell into an early 0-2 hole against Hawks starter Breiling Eusebio but ripped a ground ball to right field for a single and came around to score on a base hit by second-round pick Logan Wyatt.
In his next at-bat, Bishop saw just one pitch from the left-hander, clubbing a no-doubter to right-center field for a solo shot. It was the second homer in his last four games and gave Salem-Keizer a 3-0 lead.
"I wasn't expecting to hit a home run," Bishop said with a laugh. "I was expecting to go out there and hit something hard. I'm not surprised, but I'm definitely happy it was a home run."
While Bishop has hit safely in all but two games, Wednesday was his first multi-hit game as a pro. He has a .292/.500/.667 slash line with five extra-base hits, four RBIs, two stolen bases and six runs scored across the two levels. His introduction to pro ball has gone smoothly, but he's relying on his signature saying to help him stay on track.
"I was expecting a lot coming into pro ball, but it's the same game we've always been playing," he said. "I just try to slow it down as much as I can."
2019 MiLB include
That doesn't stop him from letting his mind drift occasionally.
"It's so surreal," Bishop said. "One day I could step on to Oracle Park and play in the outfield at the park I grew up watching people."
Seventh-round pick Armani Smith doubled and drove in a run on a three-hit night for Salem-Keizer. Alexander Canario collected three RBIs and fourth-rounder Tyler Fitzgerald contributed a run-scoring single.
For Boise, Bladimir Restituyo drilled on a solo homer in the fifth, while Yorvis Torrealba -- the son of former Giants catcher Yorvit Torrealba, delivered an RBI double.