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San Francisco Giants: When will Chris Shaw get another chance?

SF Giants slugger Chris Shaw. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)
SF Giants slugger Chris Shaw. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images) /
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When the season began, the San Francisco Giants challenged outfielder Chris Shaw to work on his approach by sending him back to Double-A Richmond.

Call it a demotion with a purpose by the San Francisco Giants.

With the glut of outfielders in Triple-A Sacramento, it was really the only way to give Shaw consistent playing time.

Since he has a spot on the 40-man roster, the assumption was that if Shaw showed enough improvement in Double-A, he would be one of the first players called upon if an outfield void arose.

That’s not how things have played out, though.

First, there was this:

Then, there was this:

And, now there is this:

Shaw has seen three non-roster players have their contracts purchased while he continues to suit up for Richmond.

That is not necessarily an indication of the Giants front office souring on Shaw. Instead, it could simply be a case of them looking for him to sustain and advance his plate discipline habits before he gets another shot in the majors.

So far, he has seemingly embraced the challenge.

Richmond plays in the Eastern League, which has historically been a tough offensive environment.

While his numbers don’t jump off the page, Shaw has shown improvement in certain areas. On the year, he’s hitting .284/.365/.518 with eight doubles and seven home runs in 159 plate appearances.

The slugging percentage is not a surprise. Shaw has always had good power. He posted a .505 slugging percentage with 24 home runs in 101 games at Triple-A last season.

However, his plate discipline has been trending up.

During his MLB debut with the San Francisco Giants last season, he struck out a staggering 23 times in 62 plate appearances. That is a lot of empty at-bats.

Since being assigned to Richmond, he has shown improved plate discipline. In 141 plate appearances, Shaw has posted a terrific 10.1 percent walk rate with a far more manageable 17 percent strikeout rate.

The next step in his development is to see whether he can sustain those improvements at Triple-A Sacramento. The Giants decision to promote Mike Yastrzemski leaves a void on the Triple-A roster, and it is one that Shaw could fill.

It is not a given that Shaw has improved his strike zone judgment. He showed similarly strong peripherals at Richmond back in 2017 before receiving a promotion to Sacramento, where his plate discipline issues were quickly exposed.

All told, he has struck out nearly 32 percent of the time in 782 plate appearances at the Triple-A level.

The key when Shaw returns to Sacramento this time around is to sustain the improved plate discipline he is showing at Richmond.

So for now, while the San Francisco Giants outfield roulette continues, Shaw remains in Richmond to work on his offensive game.

Building a trade with the Minnesota Twins. Next

It is only a matter of time before Shaw gets the call again. Hopefully, an improved approach will leave him better prepared for MLB pitching the next time he finds his way onto the San Francisco Giants roster.

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