CHICAGO -- The Giants wanted Christian Arroyo to force his way up to the big leagues. Chris Shaw isn't exactly in the same boat, but he is now at the same level where Arroyo was to start the year.
Shaw, the top power-hitting prospect in the organization, was promoted from Double-A Richmond to Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday morning. General manager Bobby Evans said Shaw, a first baseman in his first couple of years in the minors, will continue his recent outfield work. Shaw had been playing left field in Richmond and he will be the primary left fielder in Sacramento.
"He's put himself in a position where the next test is the Triple-A level," Evans said. "He was starting to get to the point where he was ready for the next challenge."
It is unlikely that Shaw gets promoted again this season because the Giants do not need to add him to the 40-man roster until after the 2018 season. Arroyo, on the other hand, would have been added after this season anyway. Austin Slater, who also needs to be added at some point in 2017, is more likely to earn a September call-up. The Giants do, however, leave the door open for prospects to force the issue.
The 23-year-old Shaw was the 31st overall pick in the 2015 draft. He hit 12 homers in 46 games in rookie ball and then slugged 16 in 72 games for the San Jose Giants, earning a promotion late in 2016. Shaw had five more homers in two months with the Flying Squirrels and he opened up this year with six in 133 at-bats.
In three minor league seasons, Shaw is batting .277 with a .350 on-base percentage and .503 slugging percentage. He has 39 homers in 813 professional at-bats, along with 59 doubles and four triples. In 37 games this season, Shaw has 26 strikeouts and 18 walks.
"He controls the strike zone and he's got a fairly decent eye," Evans said. "He strikes out a relatively low percentage of the time and has a pretty good walk rate for a power guy."
Shaw played quite a bit in the outfield at Boston College but he was a first baseman in the minors until this season. With Brandon Belt locked in at first at the big league level, the Giants started giving Shaw starts in left field. Before leaving Richmond, Shaw made 18 starts in the outfield, totaling 158 innings.
Listed at 6-foot-4, 235 pounds, Shaw would be big in left, even by the Giants' standards. In the past, scouts -- who admitted they had only seen him at first -- insisted he probably can't handle the position, but the Giants disagree. Shaw is said to have the footwork to handle left, but he's working on getting comfortable with throws.
"He played a lot of outfield in college, pretty close to 100 games, mostly in right field," Evans said. "We'd like to give him as much time as possible to get comfortable. We discussed (the outfield) this spring and we made a more conscious decision to get him out there (in left). That was a discussion from the time he was drafted."