The Milwaukee Brewers announced that Travis Shaw was getting the weekend off to ‘reboot’ himself. He made an appearance on Saturday night, but why is he out of the starting lineup?
Travis Shaw came into Saturday’s game with the fourth worst OPS among qualified players in the league. After drawing a walk on Saturday, he now has the fifth worst OPS in the league. If Shaw wasn’t pressed into service as a pinch hitter on Saturday, there’s a good chance that he would have spent the entire weekend on the bench. Were the Chicago Cubs the right team to sit Shaw against, and will the reboot actually work?
Why sit Shaw against the Cubs?
The Cubs were scheduled to start left-handers in all three games this weekend. Shaw owns a .229/.288/.404 slash line against lefties for his career. With all three games featuring lefty starters, this presented the ideal opportunity for the Milwaukee Brewers to give Shaw a weekend off.
Will the reboot help?
It can’t be worse than the current results?
Shaw slashed a mediocre .194/.282/.347 in April. Those numbers came with a walk rate of only 9.1%, and a strikeout rate of 34.5%.
Through the first 11 days in May, Shaw is slashing .091/.211/.121. The good news is that his strikeout rate is only 26.3%, and his walk rate has increased to 13.2%.
He’s also seen a large jump in the number of swinging strikes. Last year, he swung and missed on only 8.2% of his swings. This year? He’s at 14.2%, and his contact rates are at career lows.
Whether it’s vision, bat speed, or having the wrong approach, Shaw needs to make adjustments, and time off could help clear his head and refocus. There’s still four more months of regular season to think about, and another month or so of playoffs. The Milwaukee Brewers need Shaw contributing in the next for months to have a shot at the second season.
Could a platoon work?
It could, but the Milwaukee Brewers would need to call up Keston Hiura for it to work.
As presently constructed, the Milwaukee Brewers have three right-handed infielders in Hernan Perez, Jesus Aguilar, and Orlando Arcia. Shaw and Mike Moustakas are both left-handed third basemen capable of handling second base. They also both struggle with lefties.
Calling up Hiura would allow the team to have four infielders to start against lefties who hit from the right side, and provide the platoon partner that they’re currently lacking. However it would require either a reliever to head back to San Antonio, or Eric Thames to get DFA’ed. Neither option works right now, so a platoon isn’t an option until the roster allows for it.
The Milwaukee Brewers are stuck with their current roster and a slumping Shaw for now. The reboot is the best option they have, and their best hope for seeing Shaw’s numbers improve at this point.