With all of the well deserved hype centered around his Milwaukee Brewers teammates Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain and Jesus Aguilar in the 2018 season, the success of Travis Shaw did not go unnoticed.
He was moved to second base in the second half of the season to give Mike Moustakas playing time at the hot corner, but Shaw was one of the big factors to the Milwaukee Brewers success last year.
In his second year in Milwaukee, Travis Shaw proved to Brewers’ fans that he is here to make a name for himself and help the Brewers win their first division title since 2011.
Shaw’s 2018 Recap
In 2018, the Milwaukee Brewers’ offense really put on a show. Travis Shaw was one of the acts in that show by putting up some pretty decent numbers. The Mayor of Ding-Dong City had a slash line of .241/.345/.480/.825 with 86 RBI and 32 home runs.
Shaw’s 32 home runs was third on the team and let’s just say that most of those home runs were not bloop shots. Numerous times, Shaw sent balls to the second deck or hitting the top of the foul pole. Shaw also had 23 doubles and five stolen bases in 2018. Shaw was actually third on the team in WAR behind Yelich and Cain with a 4.1 WAR (Baseball-Reference).
Shaw played most of the time at third base but was moved around the diamond when the team traded for Moustakas at the July trade deadline. Shaw played 107 games at third base and started 99 of those games and made only 10 errors and a fielding percentage of .959.
Shaw then played most of the second half at second base and it did not go as bad as people thought it would; he played 39 games at second and started 36 of those games. Contrary to what the media said about Shaw “making mistakes at second base”, he only made one error all year at second base and he also had a fielding percentage of .992 and he turned 11 DP.
He also played 17 games at first base and started 3 of those games. He didn’t make any errors at first and had a perfect fielding percentage. Needless to say, Shaw’s stats when it comes to defense are quite decent.
This year in the postseason, Shaw did very well in the 2018 NLDS against Colorado; he batted .364/.500/.455/.955 and only had one RBI. Against the Dodgers in the NLCS, he batted .211/.250/.526/.776 and did hit a home run and one RBI.
There was the questionable decision of starting Jonathan Schoop in Game 3 in the NLCS and not bringing in Shaw to bat when the game went to extra innings. But Milwaukee Brewers’ fans know the outcome of that game.
Why To Watch Shaw In 2019
In 2017, Shaw hit .273 with a .862 OPS. His numbers took a slight dip in 2018, to the tune of a .241 batting average with a .825 OPS.
The decline of his batting average from 2017 to 2018 was mostly due to his extremely low BABIP of .242. Shaw is looking to hopefully get more contact at the plate and hopefully we can see his strikeout numbers continue to go down as well. Shaw dropped his K% rate from 22.8% to 18.4% in 2018 and that’s a strong trend to see. If Shaw puts the bat on the ball more often, his 2019 season will become a great year for him.
Also to his benefit would be that–as of right now–Milwaukee isn’t re-signing Moustakas it seems, so he would be back to where he is comfortable at third base. He would once again be the full time third baseman and not have to worry making plays at second base.
Shaw will probably be batting fourth or fifth in the order and to have productivity in that part of the order would be beneficial, especially with runners in scoring position. I myself see Shaw hitting at least 28 HR this year and maybe 95 RBI. But we are hoping to see more contact out of Shaw instead of swinging for the fences.