Shawon Dunston Jr. enters his first year with the Grizzlies and eighth as a professional in 2019.
Dunston Jr., 26, had a short stint in independent baseball last season when he appeared in eight games for the Chicago Dogs, who were playing their first season in the American Association.
An 11th-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in the 2011 MLB Draft out of Valley Christian High School in San Jose, Calif., Dunston Jr. played for four Cubs minor-league affiliates over five years: the Rookie-level Arizona League Cubs, the Short Season-A Boise (Idaho) Hawks, the Class-A Kane County (Ill.) Cougars, and the Class A-Adv. Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Pelicans. Dunston Jr. later joined the San Francisco Giants’ system and played parts of the 2016 and 2017 seasons with their Class-A affiliate, the Augusta (Ga.) GreenJackets.
Dunston Jr.’s father and namesake, Shawn Sr., was the drafted by the Chicago Cubs No. 1 overall in 1982 and went on to play 18 seasons in the big leagues with the Cubs, Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals, and New York Mets. The two-time All-Star hit .269 with 150 home runs in his career.