It has been a tough year for former SF Giants slugging prospect Chris Shaw, but the woes continue as the Baltimore Orioles released the former first-round pick. He is now a free agent for the first time in his career.
SF Giants: Former slugging prospect released by the Orioles
Not long ago, Shaw was considered one of the Giants’ brightest prospects in a system that was thin on impact talent. He brought a powerful bat to an organization that had struggled to develop it for decades.
Shaw’s bat excelled at the lower levels but he hit a developmental rough patch in the upper minors as his plate discipline and below-average bat-to-ball skills limited his potential upside. Nevertheless, his power continued to thrive, blasting 24 home runs in Triple-A in 2018 before earning a promotion to the major league roster.
Shaw’s rookie campaign did not go as planned as he registered a .185/.274/.278 line (55 OPS+) with one home run, two runs, and seven RBI across 62 plate appearances. Despite these struggles, his one home run was a titanic blast at Coors Field:
After the 2018 season, Bobby Evans was fired as the general manager and replaced with Farhan Zaidi as team president of baseball operations. When he took over, Zaidi challenged Shaw with a demotion to Double-A to further refine his approach at the plate in 2019.
He saw some improvement, posting a 10.4 percent walk rate in 182 plate appearances before being promoted back to Triple-A. However, his plate discipline did not translate against the advanced competition. Though, he did manage to swat 21 home runs in a shortened season with Triple-A and found himself back on the Giants roster in September of 2019 where he recorded one hit in 18 sparse at-bats.
At that point, it had been clear that he had fallen considerably down the outfield depth chart. The 27-year-old remained on the 40-man roster in 2020, but the Giants never entertained the idea of him getting one more shot with the club.
San Francisco placed him on waivers after last season where he was claimed by the Baltimore Orioles. Shortly thereafter, the Orioles placed him on waivers, going unclaimed and remaining with the organization.
Shaw was assigned to Triple-A but his start to the 2021 season was disastrous as he recorded one hit in 39 at-bats. He sustained an unannounced injury and was making his back with the High-A club before being cut loose.
Shaw is a free agent for the first time in his career and is in need of a fresh start. He still boasts considerable game power, but he will need to find an organization that can work with his swing to develop a more selective approach.