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Luciano 'far better' than SJ Giants manager has ever coached originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The Marco Luciano hype train might feel full at times. We're going to need more seats, it's only going to grow.
Especially after the latest praise from his San Jose Giants manager Lenn Sakata.
Sakata is a San Jose legend. This is his eighth separate stint as the team's manager, serving that spot on the staff for the first time since 2014. He also had his jersey number retired in 2019. Sakata has seen countless eventual San Francisco stars come through the farm system in San Jose.
None like Luciano.
"To compare him to any player who's played for me here and went to the big leagues, this kid is far, far better than anybody that I've ever had," Sakata said to KNBR's Bill Laskey on Saturday. "Not only his capabilities on offense, which I'd say he has hard-to-describe power, but he has hit balls further than any player I've ever had here. Over the center field fence, in the right-center gap and out of the park -- his power is a deceptive power.
"He's got legitimate home run power. The ball carries and never comes down, which is the deception of it. When you see it hit you think that's gonna be an out, and then it just keeps going and going and going."
Sakata compares Luciano's power to a former All-Star who hit at least 30 home runs seven times in his 16-year career.
"I would describe that to a Dave Kingman type of power," Sakata said.
The San Jose manager also praised Luciano's feel for the strike zone and ability to rise to the moment with the game on the line.
Luciano, 19, is batting .287 with 16 home runs, 14 doubles and a .937 OPS through 64 games this season. The young shortstop leads Low-A West in home runs, is sixth in OPS, tied for third in RBI (51) and is fourth in slugging percentage (.557). He's the Giants' top prospect and should be seen as a consensus top-10 prospect in all of baseball.
The only real question right now is where Luciano will play on defense in the future. His manager is optimistic on Luciano's outlook at shortstop, but agrees he has a ways to go there.
"I see a guy who's gonna be a major league hitter," Sakata said. "Now, shortstop's something he's still learning. I think it'll get better as well. So the future for this kid is bright.
In 56 starts at shortstop, Luciano does have 15 errors and a lowly .922 fielding percentage this season. He has an extremely strong arm, albeit one that can lack accuracy at times. Still a teenager, he also might outgrow the position.
Many see Luciano as a future third baseman or even a corner outfielder. None of that matters right now, though. The bat is special and is what ultimately will be his ticket to the big leagues.
Sakata knows better than anyone, and his flattery can be felt all throughout the Bay Area.