One of the San Francisco Giants' top prospects for this upcoming, abbreviated 2020 season, 2019 first-round draft pick Hunter Bishop, has just tested positive for COVID-19 while in Arizona.
Bishop was tested along with the rest of the Giants' 51-man player pool prior to traveling to San Francisco for three weeks of "spring training," now being dubbed "Summer Camp" by Major League Baseball, at Oracle Park. Now he will spend 14 days in quarantine in Arizona, and he'll only be allowed to train or play once he has tested negative for the virus twice, as KPIX reports.
A 22-year-old outfielder drafted out of Arizona State, Bishop is one of the Giants' best hopes for a fresh restart this season after a dismal 2019 — which coincided, unfortunately, with Manager Bruce Bochy's final season before retirement. Along with Bishop, new players Joey Bart, Marco Luciano, and Heliot Ramos round out the roster of top prospects that the Giants' head office has pinned its hopes on.
Bishop reportedly had "very mild" symptoms of the virus, and he had not had any contact with other team members prior to testing.
"I talked to Hunter yesterday," said Manager Gabe Kapler to KPIX. "He’s in Arizona. He’s going to stay there for now and obviously do nothing for the next 14 days. He’s in good spirits."
With nine open spots on the Giants' player roster currently, there's still a strong possibility that Bishop will be called up once he has recovered.
As in other sports leagues, a handful of players have turned up positive in the MLB in recent weeks. USA Today reported two weeks ago, via a statement from the MLB, that "several" players and team staff members had turned up positive, without specifying numbers or which teams were affected. Just today we learned that a Cardinals player had tested positive, and a player on the New York Mets as well, in addition to an undisclosed number of minor leaguers in the Mets' farm system.
The upcoming MLB season, as we learned last week, will consist of 60 games, with most teams spending 30 of those games on their home fields. Each team's schedule will be divided up into 40 games against other teams in their league's geographic division, and 20 games against the opposite leagues teams in that region, in order to limit the amount of travel each team has to do.
The stakes are higher with a shortened season, with the pennant race essentially beginning with Game 1, as the Kapler discussed with the Chronicle on Monday. And because of this, there may not be time to develop and ease in the top prospects to the regular roster — especially with no minor league season in which to groom them.
The Giants' empty-stadium season opener is tentatively scheduled for July 23 at Dodgers Stadium in L.A. "Summer Camp" training begins Friday at Oracle Park.
Photo: Barry Stahl/Wikimedia