As his mother battles Alzheimer’s and his brother fights his way toward the major leagues, ASU baseball outfielder Hunter Bishop enters his junior season with a mature perspective on his life and baseball career.
ASU baseball outfielder Hunter Bishop is a projected top-50 college prospect for the upcoming MLB Draft. With a 3.5 GPA and his older brother, Braden, on the doorstep of becoming a big leaguer, Hunter is on track to completing his dream as a major leaguer.
But, becoming a star outfielder on baseball’s grandest stage isn’t his only goal in life.
“My favorite movie is called We Are Your Friends, (and) it’s with Zac Efron as a D.J.,” Hunter said. “In my secret life I want to be a D.J.”
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound outfielder for the Sun Devils then cheerfully explains that his favorite type of music is either electronic, dance or rap music. As he’s talking, a sense of relief and childlike wonder came over the 20-year old. It was as if the true version of himself had finally come to light.
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For Hunter, the boy-like wonder that he possesses is often forced to take a backseat in favor of a more mature version of himself. That’s because Hunter’s mother, Suzy, is currently battling Alzheimer’s disease, a disease that she has had since he was a senior in high school.
“My mom’s situation has made me mature a lot in the last year or so,” Hunter said. “Going through my struggles last year on the baseball field kind of made me realize how not important that is compared to what she is going through.”
Braden, with Hunter as co-founder, in light of their mother’s diagnosis founded the 4MOM charity for Alzheimer’s disease. In the charities efforts to fight against Alzheimer’s, the 4MOM organization sells hoodies, T-shirts, bracelets and, on March 3, is holding a Top Golf Tournament called TopGolf4ALZ in Glendale.
Currently in the Seattle Mariners organization, Braden has taken the 4MOM charity to a major league level. Toward the back half of spring training last season, Braden took a picture with Mariners’ players and coaches during spring training. Every player and coach wore T-shirts with the 4MOM logo in the front while Braden, in the center of the photo, sat next to former Mariners star Robinson Cano and former Cy Young award winner and current Mariner Felix Hernandez.
But, as much of an inspiration and hero Braden is to the Alzheimer’s community and the 4MOM foundation, he is also Hunter’s hero.
“At first I hated him,” Hunter said. “He was better than me at everything we did. But, he’s one of my heroes. I look up to him in every aspect of life.”
A third round pick and former University of Washington outfielder, Braden has helped his brother mature as a ballplayer as well.
“He’s helped me with my mindset for sure,” Hunter said. “There’s struggles in everyday baseball. So it’s just dealing with the ups and downs and trying to become more consistent every single day.”
Maturity, Hunter admits, is a learning curve for him. A curve that has taken him to the other side of the country, in Brewster, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod.
Like his brother before him, in the summer, Hunter played for the Brewster Whitecaps of the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League. And right out of the gate, the league quickly humbled the ASU outfielder.
“(The Cape League) hit me right in the face (and let me know that), ‘You’re not that good,'” he said. “(On the other hand,) this past year really helped me see what I can become as a player.”
Hunter’s tough start to his career on the Cape was followed up by a postseason filled with success. The San Francisco native was named Co-Playoff MVP with teammate Nick Dunn in Brewster’s championship run in 2017 and followed up that playoff performance with a .369 on base percentage this past summer.
Two summers on the Cape, two spring seasons of Division 1 Pac-12 baseball and the experience of his mother’s condition has mentally gotten Hunter to a place that is well beyond his years.
But, he admits the road that he’s traveled since his senior year of high school hasn’t always been smooth. During that year on top his mother’s diagnosis, Hunter was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 24th round, offered a spot on the University of Washington football team and a baseball scholarship by Arizona State, all while managing the other stresses that come with senior year in high school.
“(Over the last few years) I still think I was immature in a lot of ways and I took it out on the baseball field,” he said. “I was immature even last year a lot.
“I just think that something this year kind of clicked (for me). I’ve been seeing (my mother) a lot when I go home and that just gives me a new perspective.”
Now, with the MLB Draft in roughly four months, Hunter has perfectly placed himself in the conversation to become one of the top college prospects in the draft with a mature mindset and newfound mental toughness that scouts will crave for.
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail.