Position: First Baseman
Bishop was a 19th round pick of the Tigers last summer out of Middle Tennessee State University, where he was a standout hitter over the course of his collegiate career. During his final year on campus, Bishop hit a robust .398 with 17 doubles and 14 home runs, earning All-Sun Belt Conference 2nd Team honors in the process.
He also earned conference honors in 2007 and 2008 as he posted .329 and .372 batting averages respectively, with 35 combined home runs and 34 combined doubles. His bat was good enough that they moved him back and forth across the diamond to get him in the lineup.
In his professional debut, Bishop was named the Oneonta Player of the Year by the Tigers organization. Rawley posted a .282/.378/.439 line in 71 games, with 15 doubles, five triples, and five home runs in a tough offensive environment. He also managed to walk 30 times against just 51 strikeouts, embodying the Tigers supposed new philosophy of working counts and taking pitches.
The Tigers moved Bishop aggressively to start the 2010 season, assigning him to High-A Lakeland for his first full season, and he has gotten off to a roaring start, posting a .364/.429/.564 line in his first 30 games.
Bishop is a polished, patient hitter that takes a consistent approach into each of his bats. He rarely deviates from his game plan, and he is content waiting for pitchers to work within his plan. He has good control of the barrel of the bat, allowing him to make consistent contact throughout the zone, and he has good plate coverage as well.
Bishop's power is more of the line drive variety, and few scouts see much more than doubles power in his future. He uses the whole field well and can hit line drives to all parts of the diamond, but he doesn't generate much leverage or loft in his swing, and he is likely to settle into the 10-12 home runs per year range.
Though Bishop has been a solid defender at third base in the past, he will more than likely settle in at first base for the duration. As he has begun to fill out his frame and thicken in the lower half, his range has diminished. He has good hands and footwork at first base, and he has a good arm as well.
Though he is a fringe-average to below-average runner, he is not a base clogger. He reads balls in the outfield well, and knows when to be aggressive on the base paths.
One of Bishop's greatest assets is his makeup and leadership ability. He is quiet and unassuming to the common onlooker, but he is a leader on the field and he has an excellent rapport with his teammates. He is rarely rattled by anything that happens around him, and he doesn't let mistakes or poor performance impact his upcoming play.
Despite his hot start, Bishop doesn't profile as much more than an organizational player that can provide a solid bat at first base or designated hitter.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% A+
Bishop's been healthy during his brief professional career. He is a good athlete with a strong work ethic.
Bishop's been on a tear through the season's first month, killing Florida State League pitching. It is difficult to expect him to maintain this type of performance, but it is reasonable to expect a solid average and strong on-base percentage, backed up by some extra-base hits.
The easy reaction given his performance to date is to start thinking he's going to be someone to watch in the system, but the scouts just aren't seeing the tools that match anything approaching this type of performance long term. From the 19th round, the Tigers would do well to get a solid organizational type that they can slot in at a variety of levels and get decent production; and that's exactly what Bishop is likely to provide.
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