Giants’ Hunter Bishop Has Renewed Confidence Following AFL Stint

Hunter Bishop crushed an 0-2 pitch well beyond the right-field wall in the Arizona Fall League’s Fall Stars Game in November.

That home run in and of itself didn’t mean that much to Bishop, but it did represent the culmination of his AFL performance that re-instilled his confidence.

“It was just a breath of fresh air to get out there and play really well against great competition and just see that I could do it still,” the 6-foot-5, 210-pound outfielder said in a phone interview in late March.

Bishop’s AFL numbers weren’t eye-popping—he hit .262/.373/.381—but the mere fact he was able to play after a shoulder injury limited him to 16 minor league games in 2021 buoyed the 2019 first-round pick.

Bishop’s return to health became one of the most encouraging signs for the Giants in March.

“He looks as good as he has since we picked him,” Giants farm director Kyle Haines said.

The Giants made Bishop the 10th overall pick in 2019 after his 22-homer, 12-steal junior season at Arizona State. In his first pro season in 2019, Bishop slashed .229/.438/.429 in 32 games split between the Rookie-level Arizona League and the short-season Northwest League.

The pandemic wiped out the 2020 minor league season, and Bishop tested positive for the coronavirus, which prevented him from going to the Giants’ summer camp and delayed his arrival at their alternate training site in Sacramento.

Then came the shoulder problems last year, and Bishop’s seemingly bright future dimmed some. He deleted most of his social media accounts.

“It wasn’t healthy for me mentally to see what people would write about me,” Bishop said. “Whether it was positive or negative, I would (put) too much into it . . .

“I didn’t stop believing, but for a while, it was very difficult because I’m sitting in Arizona while all my friends are out there playing, having fun.”

Now that he’s healthy again, Bishop and the Giants expect him to display what Haines termed “such a great power-speed combination.”

“To be waking up every morning feeling healthy,” Bishop said, “it’s very, very underrated and I’m very excited for 2022.”

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