Programming note: Giants-Padres coverage starts today at 2:30pm with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.
While the San Francisco Giants have already gone through Opening Day festivities -- dropping a four-game road series to the D’backs -- Thursday night was the return of Minor League Baseball.
Down in Double-A for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, Chris Shaw didn’t waste any time to show off his power, cranking out the first pitch he saw to give Richmond an early 3-0 lead. The Flying Squirrels went on to beat the Hartford Yard Goats, 11-1, highlighted by Shaw’s deep homer over the right-center field wall.
Shaw finished the game going 1-for-4 and also struck out twice.
This season should be a big one developmentally for the power-hitting first baseman. The Giants’ first-round pick in 2015 out of Boston College mashed at Advanced Single-A for the San Jose Giants last year. In 72 games, Shaw posted a .285 batting average, .357 on-base percentage and .544 slugging percentage with 16 home runs. Shaw’s big numbers at the plate earned him a promotion to Double-A for the final 60 games of the season.
And then, the first baseman hit a wall. Shaw’s numbers went down to .246/.309/.414 with five home runs. He also struck out 125 times between the two levels.
Though he struggled after his call-up, Shaw made some big improvements over time with the Flying Squirrels. Over 26 games in July, Shaw slashed .208/.268/.327 with only one home run. Then in 28 games in August, he hit .279/.322/.505 with four home runs.
"He has the potential to be a 30-homer guy,” Giants director of player development Shane Turner told milb.com before the season. “His tale of two cities to me … could have left him in A ball, probably would have hit 30 home runs. Where would we have been at in his development? The push to Double-A was to find out where he was and how fast he was going to move.”
Shaw is back in Double-A to start the season. The power will always be there. How he continues to make adjustments will determine how quickly he goes through the farm system.
Around The Horn
— The Triple-A Sacramento River Cats were rained out on Opening Day Thursday night. Christian Arroyo was set to bat second and play shortstop. Jae-Gyun Hwang would have been at third base and batting third.
— Here’s the lineup card the River Cats were going with before being rained out:
— The San Jose Giants opened up their season with a 16-inning loss to the Inland Empire 66ers. Giants 2016 first-round pick Bryan Reynolds went 3-for-5 with a run scored and a walk in the loss. The center fielder out of Vanderbilt hit .313/.363/.484 with six home runs between Short and Full Season Single-A last season.