Giants

Good news, bad news for Chris Shaw's first week in the Arizona Fall League

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MiLB/Sacramento River Cats

Good news, bad news for Chris Shaw's first week in the Arizona Fall League

Every time the Journey song “Lights” plays throughout AT&T Park, the lyrics When the lights go down in the City ring too true for the Giants’ offense. There’s a power outage in San Francisco. 

The savior to this issue can soon be prospect Chris Shaw, who turns 24 years old on Oct. 20. Shaw, along with five other Giants prospects, is continuing his 2017 season among a multitude of baseball’s best young up-and-comers in the Arizona Fall League. As he takes the field for the Scottsdale Scorpions, Shaw’s bat is far from the top focus for the Giants. 

After playing right and left field at Boston College, the Giants turned Shaw into a first baseman once they selected the 6-foot-4, 235-pound lefty in 2015. This year, the Giants’ front office decided to make a change. As the big league team continued to look for their own answers, Shaw saw himself in left field in 94 of the 125 games he played between Double-A and Triple-A this season. 

“I saw improvements through the course of the year,” Brian Sabean said about Shaw’s outfield defense on The Giants Insider Podcast. “The problem is playing left field in our left field isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do.” 

The AFL is all about reps in left field for Shaw as the Giants have already said he will get a long look in spring training. He earned that right after a breakout year at the plate.

One week into the AFL though, Shaw’s bat is way behind. Through four games, Shaw is batting a pedestrian .133 (2-for-15), both hits being singles. But even in such a slow start there are positives. 

Shaw has walked three times to only two strikeouts. His only downfall at the plate once he reached Triple-A Sacramento was his on-base percentage fell from .390 in Double-A to .328 at the higher level. With the River Cats, Shaw struck out 106 times, leading the team, while taking his base 20 times.

Early on in the desert, Shaw is showing more patience and putting the ball into play more often. The ball simply isn’t finding grass.

In the outfield, every ball Shaw sees -- practice or game -- during the AFL is a step in the right direction for he and the Giants. He is yet to make an error in his short time at the AFL. The big lefty will never be a guy to make the spectacular play, but if he improves his instincts with the glove and improves his eye at the plate, the Giants can finally have their left fielder of the future. 

Altuve, Stanton named MVPs

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AP

Altuve, Stanton named MVPs

Houston Astros dynamo Jose Altuve won the American League MVP award on Thursday, towering over New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge by a wide margin.

The 5-foot-6 Altuve drew 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Altuve batted a major league-best .346. He hit 24 home runs with 81 RBIs, scored 112 times, stole 32 bases and showed a sharp glove at second base.

The 6-foot-7 Judge won the AL Rookie of the Year award Monday. He set a rookie record with 52 home runs.

Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians finished third.

Altuve helped lead the Astros to their first World Series championship. Voting for these honors was completed before the postseason began.

Altuve was the second Houston player to win an MVP — Jeff Bagwell earned the 1994 NL award.

Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton won the NL MVP, barely edging Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.

In the closest MVP vote since 1979, Stanton became only the sixth player to win from a losing team.

Stanton led the big leagues with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs. His highlight-reel homer total was the most in the majors since 2001, when Barry Bonds hit a record 73 and Sammy Sosa had 64.

Stanton got 10 first-place votes and 302 points. Votto, who led the majors with a .454 on-base percentage, also got 10 firsts and had 300 points. Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt was third.

The last time an MVP race was so close, Willie Stargell and Keith Hernandez tied for the NL prize in 1979. Stanton became the first Marlins player to win the award.

The Marlins went 77-85 this season, and new team executive Derek Jeter says the club is listening to trade offers for Stanton. The 28-year-old outfielder is owed $295 million over the final decade of his record $325 million, 13-year contract.

Giants helped facilitate Meulens' interview with Yankees

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AP

Giants helped facilitate Meulens' interview with Yankees

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants moved Hensley Meulens to bench coach last month in part so that their former hitting coach could prepare for a future as a manager. The front office helped Meulens make that push in other ways, too. 

Because he is under contract with the Giants, Meulens is technically not allowed to throw himself into the running for open managerial jobs, but on a conference call with reporters Thursday, he said the Giants organization helped set him up to interview for the open Yankees job. Meulens met with Yankees management on Thursday in New York in a bid to be named the replacement for Joe Girardi. 

“The Giants want to see a few of us in managing situations,” Meulens said, noting that the same has been done for Ron Wotus. “The organization found a way to let people know we’re available or interested.”

For Meulens, Thursday morning's interview was a dream come true. He broke into baseball with the Yankees and said the organization taught him what it means to be a winner. To prepare for the interview, he turned to friends around the game who are familiar with coming out on top, especially in heated battles for the limited managerial jobs in Major League Baseball. Meulens said he talked to current managers Don Mattingly, Dave Roberts, Jeff Bannister and Torey Lovullo about the best way to prepare for such an important interview, and he also reached out to longtime manager Dusty Baker. 

Meulens got a dry run of sorts earlier in the offseason. He said he interviewed for the Detroit Tigers job when it became available, and his conference call with Yankees reporters showed that he was certainly well prepared for one of the most pressure-packed jobs in sports. Meulens repeatedly hammered home the fact that communication is a strength of his. Girardi was reportedly let go in part because his rapport with players was considered to be a weakness. 

“I’m somebody that’s ready to take the challenge and bring new positive energy on a daily basis, and also connect with everybody on the roster,” Meulens said. 

Meulens expanded on his past work with Yankee Didi Gregorius, a fellow native of Curacao, and he mentioned the Giants several times. In discussing his work with Gregorius during the World Baseball Classic, he compared him to Brandon Crawford, who made similar swing changes to improve against left-handed pitchers. When asked what separates him from other candidates, Meulens repeatedly noted his long history with winning, from his four minor league titles with the Yankees to his three rings with his current employer. 

“I was groomed to be a winner,” Meulens said. “All my career, I’ve won a bunch, and that never changes. Every day I put on my uniform, I come to the park to win the ballgame. Nothing against (any of the other candidates), but I have a drive for that.”