Gabe Kapler said it quickly, and then just as quickly needed to clarify himself.
“By the way,” the Giants manager said on KNBR, “I’m not comparing Hunter to Bryce Harper.”
Yet, he just had put last year’s first-round pick Hunter Bishop in the same sentence as the right-field slugger he managed in Philadelphia last season.
Kapler, appearing on “Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks” on Monday as MLB bides its time and hopes the coronavirus fades, was asked about the Giants who caught his eye before spring training let out, and Bishop came to mind.
“Hunter Bishop coming over made a really good impression on all of us. He’s a first-round pick, he’s got the pedigree, he’s got the power. I thought about his swing, and it’s so violent, very similar to the way Bryce Harper’s is,” Kapler said before his caveat. “… But there are similarities in their personality, in their hustle, in the way they play like their hair’s on fire. Hunter made a really strong impression.”
Bishop, whose best spring moment came on Feb. 27, when he roamed the same center field as his brother, Braden, against the Mariners, looks the part, a 6-foot-5, 210-pound outfielder who nearly beat out a couple infield singles. In nine plate appearances in big-league camp, the San Carlos native got on twice with a single and walk.
He had probably positioned himself to begin the season at Low-A Augusta before the season itself was put into doubt.
On the major league side, Kapler said, “We all got excited about Kevin Gausman, the work that he did, the split, the improving breaking ball. Drew Smyly’s arm looked great.”