Coming into the 2017 season, the Milwaukee Brewers had some holes in their lineup that needed attention. One of those was the need for an everyday third baseman, who they hope they have found in Travis Shaw.
During the 2016 winter meetings David Stearns swung a trade with the Boston Red Sox for Tyler Thornburg. In return for the righty reliever, the Brewers netted an abundance of talent. The deal included Shaw, Mauricio Dubon, Josh Pennington and a player to be named later.
With the trade, the Brewers added depth at all levels in their system, but no one really seemed to be very excited about Shaw manning the hot corner in 2017. He went into a downward spiral during the second half last year that had him platooning with former Brewer Aaron Hill until the season ended.
Now that Spring Training has come to an end, we have seen a very productive performance out of him, and there is nowhere to go but up when it comes to Shaw, but there is one reason that could make him into a possible x-factor in this Milwaukee offense.
The Brewers have what no other team has, Darnell Coles:
The Milwaukee Brewers scored 671 runs in 2016. That number is sure to increase this year, and the league’s most underrated hitting coach, Darnell Coles, working with Shaw will definitely contribute.
Coles has created more than a few remarkable success stories in his time with the Brewers. His greatest example would be how he helped Gerardo Parra, a below average hitter, slash .328/.369/.517 in 2015 with Milwaukee. It was thanks to that season that the Brewers were able to net starting pitcher Zach Davies in a trade for Parra, thanks in large part to Coles’ effort.
He also helped Jonathan Villar realize his full potential in 2016.
It will be very interesting to see how Shaw does especially inside of hitter-friendly Miller Park, but he appears to be a lock to shatter his career highs in home runs, RBIs, and slugging percentage now that he has Coles to offer sage advice.