After arriving in a deal that sent reliever Tyler Thornburg to Boston, third baseman Travis Shaw had more questions than answers. Can he hit lefties well enough to play everyday? Is he able to field well enough to stay at third base? Will his power show up in Miller Park? Shaw answered every question the Milwaukee Brewers had for him and more in 2017.
Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw lead the team in RBIs, doubles, and tied for the team lead in homers. He answered virtually every question about his offensive game. He even managed to go 10-for-10 in stolen base attempts. On the defensive side, Shaw proved to have a strong, accurate arm, and a glove that’s reliable enough to play every day.
What were the issues with lefties?
Shaw struggled with left-handed pitching during his time in Boston, and there was concern that he wouldn’t adjust. He did adjust. In 2016 with the Red Sox, Shaw slashed .187/.235/.364 against lefties in 115 plate appearances. With the Milwaukee Brewers in 2017, Shaw managed a .250/.312/.464 slash line against lefties. Those aren’t spectacular numbers, but they show that he can hit enough to play every day.
Did his power show up in Miller Park?
12 of Shaw’s 31 homers came in Milwaukee and he posted a .255/.327/.452 slash line. He didn’t pull an ‘Eric Thames‘ and go off in Miller Park, but his numbers were perfectly respectable. Shaw did just enough in Milwaukee to avoid having articles written questioning his ability to hit there. He should be fine moving forward.
What about the defense?
Shaw only made three throwing errors all year. His range at the hot corner isn’t elite, but he moves well enough to stick at third base. He may need to transition to first later in his career, but he doesn’t turn 28 until after Opening Day 2018. He’s fine at third base for now, but he was helped by Orlando Arcia‘s range at shortstop.
It was also clear that playing every day really helped Shaw settle down and find himself as a Major League player. Part of his issues in Boston were related to the the time share they had at first, third, and DH. Shaw never knew when he was playing, and the uneven playing time manifested in uneven results. That’s not longer an issue with the Milwaukee Brewers, and Shaw has only started to thrive.