Gustave, Shaw among spring roster moves

March 7th, 2020

PHOENIX -- The Giants’ first round of Spring Training roster moves included a few notable names.

Hard-throwing reliever Jandel Gustave, 2015 first-round Draft pick Chris Shaw and infielder Kean Wong were among the 17 players dispatched to Minor League camp, which officially opened on Friday.

Infielder Abiatal Avelino, right-hander Melvin Adon and left-handers Sam Selman and Conner Menez were also optioned to Triple-A Sacramento. Ten non-roster players -- right-handers Sean Hjelle, Tyler Cyr, Jake Jewell, Luis Madero, Trey McNutt, Sam Wolff and Raffi Vizcaino, left-hander Sam Moll, catcher Ricardo Genoves and outfielder Jamie Westbrook -- were reassigned to Minor League camp.

The Giants now have 55 players left in Major League camp with three weeks to go until Opening Day.

Gustave, 27, signed a Minor League deal with the Giants last spring, and was added to the 40-man roster in July after completing his rehab from Tommy John surgery. He made 23 relief appearances for the Giants in 2019, logging a 2.96 ERA over 24 1/3 innings.

Gustave seemed to be well-positioned to compete for a bullpen job, but he endured a rough start to Cactus League action, yielding three runs on five hits -- including two home runs -- over two innings in his first three appearances of the spring.

“I think for Gustave to be a guy for us, we really need to see a secondary pitch that he can depend on and lean on in the zone and for a swing and miss,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “And he can continue to show consistency with just his strike-throwing.”

The Giants still have plenty of other relief options to evaluate in the coming weeks. Tony Watson and Trevor Gott entered camp as the the only locks for the bullpen, and Watson has been slowed by left-shoulder tightness, making his status a bit questionable for Opening Day.

Tyler Rogers, Jarlin García, Sam Coonrod, Rule 5 Draft pick Dany Jimenez, Wandy Peralta and non-roster invitees Jerry Blevins, Nick Vincent and Andrew Triggs are among those vying for spots in the Giants’ bullpen this spring.

Shaw, 26, batted .294 with a .919 OPS and 28 home runs over 120 games between Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento last year, but he went 1-for-18 with eight strikeouts over 16 games as a September callup. The former top prospect went 2-for-12 with six strikeouts over seven Cactus League games, and split time between left field and first base this year.

“I think it’s an all-around game that we stressed with Chris,” Kapler said. “Continue to work on his defense, his first-step quickness, and to understand that in order for him to stick at the Major League level, he’s got to be a well above-average offensive player. He’s focused on that.” 

Wong, 24, was claimed off waivers from the Angels in the offseason, after batting .307 with an .837 OPS and 10 home runs over 113 games at Triple-A Durham in 2019. Like Shaw, Wong received limited playing time this spring, as the Giants have several infielders ahead of him on the depth chart, including Wilmer Flores, Yolmer Sánchez, Mauricio Dubón and Donovan Solano. A left-handed hitter, Wong went 3-for-11 with a walk in six Cactus League games.

“We identified that both Chris and Kean were not going to be on our Opening Day roster,” Kapler said. “We definitely want to get a couple of players as many looks as possible. Right now, it’s better for them to go down and get their reps versus taking them here.”