SAN FRANCISCO -- After opening the season at Double-A Richmond, Chris Shaw has earned a trip back to the Majors.
The power-hitting outfielder/first baseman was one of four players called up from Triple-A Sacramento on Sunday, marking the first day of expanded rosters across baseball. The Giants also promoted Aramís García, who started at first base against Padres left-hander Eric Lauer, left-hander Conner Menez and right-hander Burch Smith.
The Giants also activated infielder Pablo Sandoval off the injured list, as they hope to get him at least one more at-bat before he undergoes season-ending Tommy John surgery Wednesday in Los Angeles.
More players, including outfielder Jaylin Davis, are likely to join the Giants later this month once the playoff-bound River Cats complete their season.
Shaw, 25, received his first callup with the Giants last year, but he said this season’s ascent almost means more to him because of the work he had to put in to get back here. After striking out 144 times in 394 at-bats at Sacramento and drawing only 21 walks last year, Shaw was sent to Double-A to reestablish his strike-zone awareness.
He showed improvement, cutting his strikeouts down to 111 over 442 Minor League at-bats in 2019. Overall, Shaw hit .294 with a .919 OPS and 28 home runs in 120 games between Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento.
“I teared up a little bit,” Shaw said. “When you start the year in Double-A and you look at the depth chart and how far away you are, there are times when you’re just thinking about, ‘How am I going to get out of this hole?’ But I never stopped believing. I never stopped having faith in myself and ultimately I got here, and it’s such a good feeling.”
Shaw is likely to be used as a left-handed bat off the bench and could receive some starts at first base over the final month of the season.
Menez and Smith started for Sacramento, but they are expected to help out in the Giants’ bullpen following the injuries to relievers Trevor Gott (right elbow strain) and Reyes Moronta (acute right shoulder strain).
Menez, 24, logged a 7.11 ERA over three starts for San Francisco this year. Smith, 29, was claimed off waivers from the Brewers last month and has posted a 4.20 ERA over three games (two starts) at Sacramento. He has a 6.87 ERA in 55 career appearances in the Majors.
As the calendar flips to September, here’s a look at how some notable names in the Giants’ farm system have developed this year:
Arrival: Mike Yastrzemski
A seemingly minor transaction produced one of the best pickups of the season for the Giants, who acquired Yastrzemski from the Orioles in exchange for Minor League pitcher Tyler Herb in late March. After spending seven seasons in the Minors, Yastrzemski finally broke into the Majors with the Giants in May and made the most of his opportunity, batting .266 with an .852 OPS and 18 home runs over his first 82 games. Yastrzemski has begun to settle into the leadoff spot for the Giants and figures to be a significant piece of their outfield heading into 2020.
Breakout: Jaylin Davis
One of three players acquired from the Twins for Sam Dyson at the Trade Deadline, Davis has turned heads after batting .343 with a 1.132 OPS and 10 home runs over his first 26 games with Triple-A Sacramento. The former 24th-round Draft pick will likely be held back to help the River Cats on their postseason run, but he should make his debut with San Francisco later this month.
Something to prove: Melvin Adon
Adon was added to the Giants’ 40-man roster over the offseason and seemed to have the potential to make a quick rise to the Majors after opening the year at Double-A Richmond. The hard-throwing reliever posted a 2.60 ERA over 36 appearances before earning a promotion to Triple-A Sacramento, but he’s struggled to replicate that success in the Pacific Coast League. In his first 11 relief appearances for the River Cats, Adon has recorded a 15.43 ERA over 9 1/3 innings.
Name to watch: Joey Bart
Bart had an outside shot of forcing his way onto the Giants’ roster this year, but he encountered a significant setback after missing six weeks with a fractured hand. The Giants’ top prospect was promoted to Double-A Richmond in August and is expected to head to Arizona later this month to play for the Scottsdale Scorpions in this year’s Fall League. He could be ready to serve as Buster Posey’s understudy as early as next season.