The San Francisco Giants have taken a patient approach with slugger Chris Shaw this season. He’ll have a chance to shine in September.
The No. 31 overall pick in the 2015 draft was the No. 3 prospect in the club’s minor league ranks heading into the 2017 season and its No. 2 prospect at the start of 2018, according to Baseball America.
After hitting .292/.346/.525 with 35 doubles and 24 home runs while splitting the season between Double-A and Triple-A in 2017, Shaw looked poised to stake claim to a spot in the middle of the San Francisco lineup for years to come.
However, the 2018 season proved to be a trying one.
In a return to Triple-A, his strikeout rate climbed (25.7 to 34.1 percent) and his walk rate dropped (7.4 to 5.0 percent), and he was hitting just .259 with a .308 on-base percentage when he was called up for his MLB debut on Aug. 31 following the Andrew McCutchen trade.
He was given an extended look in September and the results were abysmal. In 62 plate appearances, he hit .185/.274/.278 with just three extra-base hits and 23 strikeouts.
After a flurry of offseason activity that included the addition of upper-level outfielders like Mike Yastrzemski and Mike Gerber, Shaw was sent all the way back to Double-A to work on his approach when the 2019 season began.
Rather than sulking, he has made the most of the opportunity to reset.
The 25-year-old batted .288/.368/.500 with 18 extra-base hits in 182 plate appearances at Double-A before earning a promotion to Triple-A. It’s been more of the same at the highest level of the minors, as he boasts a .298/.354/.596 line in 73 games.
He’s totaled 26 doubles, 28 home runs and 94 RBI between the two levels, and most importantly, he’s demonstrating a more refined approach. He has a 7.9 percent walk rate and a 22.5 percent strikeout rate, which is right in line with his 2017 numbers.
On Thursday, he went 3-for-3 with three home runs and seven RBI.
He’s now hitting .344 with four home runs and 14 RBI in his last 10 games, and that hot streak has come at the perfect time with roster expansion right around the corner.
All the pieces are falling into place for San Francisco Giants prospect Chris Shaw to shine in September. Expect him to get another extended look, with a chance to prove he belongs in the team’s 2020 plans with a strong showing.