Teams and players get to breathe a collective sigh of relief every September 1 as the rosters expand. The San Francisco Giants announced their first wave of call-ups on Sunday.
Each MLB team has the ability to bring up every player from their 40-man roster on Sept. 1 if they choose to do so. It becomes a bit of a logistical nightmare when they do this, but they at least have that option. So far, the San Francisco Giants have only promoted four players, with another wave of call-ups likely to occur in the near future.
The four players that got the call on Sunday were as follows:
Garcia, Menez, and Smith have made brief appearances with the Giants this season, whereas Smith was claimed off of waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers in August.
The Giants wasted no time with Garcia as he was in Sunday’s starting lineup and playing first base against San Diego Padres lefty starter Eric Lauer. He was 0-for-2 with a strikeout.
Garcia had a nice season in Triple-A where he posted a .271/.343/.488 line for a 99 wRC+. That included 16 home runs and 51 RBI. In addition to this, he recorded a 9.2 percent walk rate against a 30.7 percent strikeout rate.
This has also been an interesting year for Garcia with the glove. He split his time between catcher and first base, but he has also added a new position to his resume in left field. He only made four starts in the outfield, but each of those starts took place recently, and that could be a sign for how the Giants intend to use him going forward.
Garcia’s battery mate Menez also saw action on Sunday, facing three batters and allowing one hit and one walk while also recording a strikeout. The Giants have aggressively promoted the left-handed after he began the year with their Double-A affiliate.
The southpaw spent the bulk of his time with Triple-A Sacramento. In 12 starts, he posted a 4.84 ERA along with 84 strikeouts in 61.1 innings. That ERA looks high, but in the context of the extreme hitter’s environment of the Pacific Coast League, he pitched well.
Menez also made three starts for the Giants where he posted a 7.11 ERA, but that included 14 strikeouts across 12.2 innings of work. Despite his struggles, he still managed to get plenty of swinging strikes. The Giants used him as a starter previously, but he will slot him into a different role as the season winds down:
Shaw was assigned to Double-A at the start of this season as a challenge to improve his plate discipline. The power-hitting prospect posted a .868 OPS with a 10.4 percent walk rate against a 18.1 percent strikeout rate in 182 plate appearances with Richmond.
That was enough to earn a promotion back to Sacramento where he continued to show off his raw power. In 310 plate appearances in Triple-A, Shaw recorded a .298/.355/.592 line that included 21 home runs.
Many of his hits looked a lot like this:
Shaw produced 28 home runs across two minor league affiliates and split time at first base and left field. When the San Francisco Giants face a right-handed pitcher, Shaw will likely find his name in the lineup.
The last of the call-ups was the right-handed Smith. His repertoire includes a fastball, changeup, and curveball. Each of these pitches are quality, major league pitches, but the right-hander struggles with command as evidenced by the 10 free passes he issued in only 12.2 innings with the Brewers earlier this season.
In three appearances with Sacramento, Smith posted a 4.20 ERA with 18 strikeouts and nine walks across 15 frames. The walks continue to be a problem, but the high strikeout totals remain intriguing.
The San Francisco Giants should see more reinforcements when Sacramento’s season ends. However, the additions of Menez, Smith, Garcia, and Shaw will give Bruce Bochy a couple of extra options before more help arrives.