Giants

Mets vs. Giants lineups: Donovan Solano in for Joe Panik for matinee

Mets vs. Giants lineups: Donovan Solano in for Joe Panik for matinee

The 10-inning game Friday night had just ended before prepping had begun for the third of a four-game series. Saturday's matchup has the Giants hoping they can continue to figure out the Mets.

The ending to the game was heartbreaking for the Mets, to say the least. Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith let a routine fly ball to left field drop, allowing Alex Dickerson to run around the bases and cross the plate in walk-off fashion

Jeff Samardzija takes the hill for the Orange and Black and hopes to keep the momentum going. He's improved his ERA to 3.93 this season -- across his last three starts, he's boasting a 1.66 ERA with 17 strikeouts and three walks.

Mets' Zack Wheeler would have been the starter on Saturday if it weren't for some shoulder fatigue. Walker Lockett will get those honors. His numbers aren't as impressive as Samardzija's, however.

The righty is making his third start of the season and currently has an 11.74 ERA. 

The San Francisco Chronicle's Hank Schulman reported pitcher Conner Menez was in the Giants' clubhouse, and manager Bruce Bochy announced that the 24-year-old left-hander will start on Sunday against the Mets in the series finale. Drew Pomeranz, who was scheduled to start, will move to the bullpen. 25- and 40-man roster moves will be announced Sunday.

Here are how the lineups look to shape up for the third game of the series:

New York Mets (44-53)

Jeff McNeil, RF
Michael Conforto, CF
Wilson Ramos, C
Robinson Cano, 2B
Todd Frazier, 3B
Dominic Smith, 1B
J.D. Davis, LF
Amed Rosario, SS
Walker Lockett, P (0-1, 11.74 ERA)

San Francisco Giants (49-49)

Brandon Belt, 1B
Buster Posey, C
Pablo Sandoval, 3B
Alex Dickerson, LF
Brandon Crawford, SS
Mike Yastrzemski, RF
Kevin Pillar, CF
Donovan Solano, 2B
Jeff Samardzija, P (7-7, 3.93 ERA)

After unexpected detour, Chris Shaw will finally get to play at Fenway Park

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After unexpected detour, Chris Shaw will finally get to play at Fenway Park

SAN FRANCISCO -- When Major League Baseball released the 2019 schedule last August, Chris Shaw immediately circled September 17. Shaw grew up a few miles from Boston and lost count of how many times he sat in the cramped seats at Fenway Park while starring at Lexington High and Boston College.

Shaw took a big step toward accomplishing a lifelong dream when he was called up a few days after the schedule release, and he spent most of September getting regular time in the big leagues. With a new regime coming in and an increased focus on youth, Shaw's path to Fenway seemed relatively clear -- until a shocking phone call this spring. 

It was not a surprise that Shaw did not break camp with the Giants. But teammates were stunned and disappointed when he started the year back in Double-A for the first time since the early months of 2017. Six months from the series in Boston, Shaw found himself buried on the depth chart. 

"I had that thought many a time throughout the year," Shaw said. "It's not a thought you try and continue to have, but it is something that creeps in your mind, where you try and envision yourself being in Boston and not being with the team. That just would have crushed me."

That phone call from Farhan Zaidi could have crushed Shaw. Perhaps it would have for another player. It's unusual for a young player to hit 24 homers in Triple-A, earn a September promotion, and then find himself dropped two levels the next April, and the decision did not go unnoticed in the big league clubhouse. There was some confusion about Zaidi's methods early on, and Shaw's demotion was among the topics that veterans quietly grumbled about. 

Shaw did not allow any anger to show, though. His teammates in Richmond raved about the leadership he showed, and Giants executives took note of the behind-the-scenes work Shaw was doing with younger players as he tried to make his own swing adjustments. 

"A thing like that would have broken a lesser man, but Chris is the type of guy who sometimes you wonder if he's too good to be true with how he handles certain things," farm director Kyle Haines said. "He took it as a challenge. He went there on a mission to show that he wants to be not just in Triple-A, but in the big leagues. That's a great attitude to have. A lot of guys would have had some sour grapes, but Chris handled it as well as he possibly could."

When the Giants initially made the decision, they said Shaw needed to go back to Double-A because there wasn't enough playing time in a Triple-A outfield filled with imported lottery tickets. Zaidi told Shaw that Richmond would be a good place to get his bearings back, and insisted that the assignment was his fastest track back to the big leagues. 

"As difficult as it was to do at the beginning of the year, I made Richmond my big leagues," Shaw said. "Going into the year I envisioned it going a little differently, obviously, but the year I had, this might be my favorite season I've ever had. There were so many times where it was just like, am I going to be able to get up? Am I going to be a Giant? There were so many times where it would have been easy to throw in the towel and been like, this isn't your year. But I truly believed I was going to get back here and I let that be my motivation every day."

Shaw played 45 games in Double-A before heading back to Sacramento. He showed improved plate discipline at both stops, cutting his strikeout rate by nine percent from his previous stint in Triple-A while hitting 28 homers across two levels. 

The Giants called Shaw back up when rosters expanded September 1, and while he hasn't gotten much playing time, manager Bruce Bochy is well aware of what this trip means. He said he will try to get Shaw meaningful at-bats this week at Fenway, and Shaw was all smiles last week as he talked of the upcoming trip. 

"This is something I've wanted since I started playing baseball," he said. 

Those dreams blossomed in Lexington, a small town that's better known for being the location of the first shot fired in the Revolutionary War. Shaw joked that the entire city would show up at Fenway this week, and that might not be that far from the truth. On Wednesday, Lexington will celebrate "Chris Shaw Day," an honor that didn't seem possible at the end of the spring. 

[RELATED: MadBum in line to start Bochy's last game, as it should be]

The Giants always were going to spend this week in Boston, and Shaw was, too. His trip included an unexpected detour, but when the team faces the Red Sox this week, Shaw will be in the dugout, not watching from his couch. 

"Every single day I just wake up and it's just the best day of my life because I'm back in the big leagues," he said. "I'm just grateful to have this opportunity again. Last year in September, I don't know if I understood how fragile it is to be up here and how special it is. 

"You get down to Richmond and you think, 'Oh crap, I was in the big leagues last year.' So now that I'm here again, I'm not going to let any opportunity go by. I'm just really enjoying it."

How Giants' top five MLB prospects from preseason performed in 2019

How Giants' top five MLB prospects from preseason performed in 2019

While the Giants have tumbled down the standings in the final month of the season after making an earlier postseason push, the team's farm system experienced quite the 180 this season. 

The Sacramento River Cats won the Pacific Coast League and now play one final game Tuesday against the Columbus Clippers in the Triple-A National Championship. San Francisco's Triple-A team was one of the Giants' five affiliates to make the playoffs this year. In one season, the Giants went from one of the worst collections of minor leaguers in baseball to a middle-of-the-pack farm system with prospects on the rise. 

Through trades, call-ups and players rising and falling, the Giants' top prospects list has changed for the better. Trading for a player like Mauricio Dubon, who looks like an everyday solution up the middle for the long term, only helps. 

Prior to the season, and the Giants improving their farm system, here is how MLB.com ranked the team's top five prospects: Catcher Joey Bart, outfielder Heliot Ramos, shortstop Marco Luciano, pitcher Shaun Anderson and pitcher Logan Webb.

Let's look at how each performed this year and what it says about their future.

Joey Bart, Catcher

Bart entered the season with unreasonable expectations. He hit .298 with 13 homers for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in Class A Short Season last year after the Giants selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. Fans really started clamoring for his MLB debut when he hit .350 for the big league club in spring training, and took home the Barney Nugent Award

Bart began the 2019 season with the San Jose Giants in Class A Advanced. He had two hits and two RBI in his team debut and really hit his stride in July when he batted .289 with six homers for the month. 

His time in San Jose came to an end in early August when the Giants promoted the catcher to Double-A Richmond. After a slow start, Bart caught fire to end the year. He was named the Eastern League Player of the Week to end the regular season when he hit .538 with a homer, four doubles, a triple and six RBI in his final seven games. 

[RELATED: Why Giants top prospects exceeded expectations]

Between San Jose and Richmond, Bart hit .278 with 16 homers and an .824 OPS this season. He will take the next big step this week when the Arizona Fall League begins Wednesday. There, he could learn another position for the first time, advancing his ETA to big leagues. 

Though it likely won't be at the beginning of the season, expect Bart to join the Giants at some point next year.

Heliot Ramos, Outfielder

Ramos, who just recently turned 20 years old, came into the season after a down year in Low A Augusta. He made the needed adjustments over the winter, however, and was the Giants' most impressive prospect this year. 

Built more like a running back than a center fielder, Ramos showed off his five-tool potential this year. The Giants' top pick in the 2017 draft hit .306 with 13 homers and an .885 OPS. He was promoted to Double-A the same day as Bart and hit .242 with three more homers for the Flying Squirrels. 

At the time of his call-up, Ramos was the youngest prospect ever to play for Richmond. He hit .290 with 16 homers, 24 doubles and an .850 OPS. There's no overstating just how special he was this season at such a young age. 

Ramos will be 20 all next season. The Giants want he and Bart to be on similar paths to the majors, but will they bring him up that young? 

When the Giants drafted Ramos, he said he wanted to play at Oracle Park in three years. It's quite the stretch, but don't doubt the young star.

Marco Luciano, Shortstop

For as much hype as Bart and Ramos garnered this year, Luciano might have earned even more. 

Luciano turned 18 less than a week ago. Like Ramos, he's extremely advanced for his age. Already standing 6-foot-2 and 178 pounds, Luciano hit .322 with 10 homers and a 1.055 OPS over 38 games in the Arizona Rookie League. He also added nine doubles, two triples and eight stolen bases. 

Before he even turned 18, Luciano played nine games with Salem-Keizer. His season was cut short due to an ankle injury, but it's not thought to be serious.

President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has raved about Luciano and the shortstop already is getting compared to a young Alfonso Soriano. Giants fans will need some patience with this one, but he looks to be worth the wait. 

Shaun Anderson, Pitcher 

All Anderson needed was eight starts with Sacramento this season to get called up to San Francisco. His future, however, still is a bit of a mystery.

Anderson, 24, was 2-1 with a 3.76 ERA for the River Cats over eight starts when he received his promotion. He has had his ups and downs with the Giants, especially as a starter. 

The young right-hander had a 5.33 ERA with six strikeouts per nine innings and a 1.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 16 starts with the Giants. He recently has pitched as a reliever, striking out 11 batters in 9 2/3 innings. Anderson is posting 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings out of the bullpen and his strikeouts-to-walk ratio has jumped to 2.8. 

There's no doubt Anderson will have a future on the mound in the majors. Whether he's starting games or relieving -- possibly as the Giants' closer -- is yet to be determined.

Logan Webb, Pitcher 

Webb came into the year as the Giants' fastest rising pitching prospect. He then had a 2.00 ERA with Richmond after the first month of the season, but was suspended 80 games for PEDs. 

The 22-year-old breezed through the minors upon his return and was called up to the Giants on Aug. 17. He's looked like a future ace at times, but also has had moments where he's seemed overmatched.

Webb has struggled with his command in the past and is dealing with the same issues in the bigs. He only has lasted at least five innings in two of his five starts so far. That doesn't mean he can't lead this staff one day, though. 

For now, the Giants can deal with Webb's shortcomings. He has the repertoire and tenacity to stay in the rotation for a long, long time.