Shaw, Suarez named Giants Prospects of the Year

Shaw, Suarez named Giants Prospects of the Year

SAN FRANCISCO -- Outfielder/first baseman Chris Shaw and left-hander Andrew Suarez, named the Giants' Prospects of the Year, have timing on their side.

Several of the Giants' top farmhands made their Major League debuts this year, including infielder Christian Arroyo, infielder-outfielder Ryder Jones, outfielder Austin Slater and right-hander Kyle Crick.

Giants Prospects of the Year
2017 Chris Shaw Andrew Suarez
2016 Austin Slater Tyler Beede
2015 Christian Arroyo Chase Johnson
Year Hitter Pitcher

This personnel influx created fresh vacancies in the Giants' on-deck circle of prospects. Only right-hander Tyler Beede can be considered a holdover from the Giants' previous group of players for whom a big league promotion appeared imminent. Shaw, who will turn 24 on Oct. 20, and Suarez, 25, are leaders of the next wave. They're ranked No. 2 and No. 11 on the Giants' Top 30 Prospects list

Each team's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the staff. To receive consideration, individuals must have spent at least half the year in the Minors, appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list and played the entire year in the organization.

Having played first base for most of his professional career, Shaw is attempting to master left field. It's the most likely spot for the left-handed hitter to occupy, since Brandon Belt is entrenched at first base in San Francisco.

Shaw, the 31st overall selection in the 2015 Draft, is the Giants' most impressive power-hitting prospect. He batted .292 with 24 home runs and 79 RBIs while dividing the year between Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento.

Given his 38 walks and 132 strikeouts in 469 at-bats this season, Shaw must learn a thing or two about plate discipline. But there's no denying his slugging potential.

"Right now, he hits the ball really hard but lines out a lot," said catcher Tim Federowicz, who spent most of the season with Sacramento. "You see that with a lot of guys. Once they start lifting the ball, usually those line drives turn into homers. I could see him being one of those big-time home run hitters. Thirty or 40 a year."

"I think the sky's the limit for what he's shooting for offensively," Sacramento manager Dave Brundage said of Shaw. "Now we have to get him better defensively."

Suarez was drafted in the second-round (61st overall) in 2015. Neither of these credentials mean as much as the praise Federowicz once gave him. An ex-Dodger, Federowicz recalled feeling compelled to liken Suarez's slider to that of Los Angeles' Clayton Kershaw, the ultimate lefty.

Top Prospects: Suarez, SF

Federowicz explained that the Kershaw comparison seemed apt for Suarez with "as hard as he throws it and the depth that he gets the majority of the time. He just has to get a little more consistent with it. He has a serviceable curveball and changeup. The more he works on his third and fourth pitches, the better he's going to become. Because his slider's big league ready right now."

Suarez, who finished a combined 10-10 with a 3.30 ERA at Richmond and Sacramento, must gain command of some of pitching's finer points, Federowicz said.

"He has to learn when to throw stuff for strikes or when to make guys chase. Work a little bit on finishing guys with two strikes with his fastball a little bit more."

Suarez showed promise with 135 strikeouts and 42 walks in 155 2/3 innings this year.

"I like his all-around game," Brundage said. "I like his demeanor. I like his preparation. He's a very astute young pitcher. Those are hard to come by. He's very well-rounded in all aspects of his game."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.