Chris Shaw Gets Surprise Assignment to Begin Minor League Season

SAN DIEGO -- The outfield surprises weren't limited to the big league level.

Chris Shaw, a former first-round pick who made his MLB debut last season, will start the year with Double-A Richmond after spending the previous two seasons with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats. The assignment was to allow Shaw to play every day, but it certainly shows the significant shift in thinking when it comes to Giants outfielders. 

Two of the four in the Majors -- Connor Joe and Michael Reed -- joined the organization at the end of spring training. Mac Williamson was designated for assignment and it's hard to see the Giants squeezing him in at Triple-A given the Shaw move. Austin Slater is the only familiar name in the Triple-A outfield, joining newcomers Mike Gerber, Anthony Garcia, Henry Ramos and Mike Yastrzemski. 

Shaw, 25, was taken 31st overall in the 2015 draft. He has tremendous power, but has also piled up strikeouts in the minors. Shaw hit 24 homers for the River Cats last season but struck out 144 times and walked just 21. In a September cameo in the big leagues, he hit one very long homer but also struck out 23 times in 54 at-bats. 

Shaw was not in the mix to make the Opening Day roster, but all spring the assumption was that he would again get regular time in Triple-A. Instead he's one of four players with MLB experience playing for Richmond, along with pitchers Fernando Abad and Brandon Beachy and first baseman Brock Stassi. 

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