The Milwaukee Brewers exiled Travis Shaw to Triple-A over three weeks ago. Is he ready to make his return to the Majors, or should he continue to work on his swing in the Minors?
You might not believe this, but Travis Shaw is starting to show signs of life. The Milwaukee Brewers third baseman with a .164/.278/.290 slash line in 57 games at the Major League level appears to have found himself in Triple-A. Is this just a small hot streak, or is Shaw really back?
What is Shaw doing in Triple-A?
In 21 games with the San Antonio Missions, Shaw owns a .279/.419/.544 slash line with six homers and 15 RBIs. But he’s done most of his damage in the last few days. Since July 11th, Shaw has three homers, 10 RBIs, and a .438 batting average. That certainly sounds a lot more like the Shaw that put together back-to-back 30+ homer seasons in 2017 and 2018.
If Shaw returns, who goes down?
For every player that comes up from the Minors, one has to go back…or go to the IL…or get released. There are two names currently on the Milwaukee Brewers 25-man roster who could go back to Triple-A.
Keston Hiura came up when Shaw went down, and has played just about every day at second base for the Brewers since then. Hiura’s promotion has allowed Mike Moustakas to move to his natural position at third base, and Hiura has performed well.
Hiura owns a .299/.359/.556 slash line since his call up on June 27th. He’s blasted eight homers, driven in 16 runs, and stolen five bases. He’s been every bit the top prospect that he was advertised as.
The Milwaukee Brewers also, inexplicably, still have Tyler Saladino on their bench. Saladino was solid in Triple-A this year. In 67 games with the San Antonio Missions, Saladino owns a .288/.375/.568 slash line.
Since he’s been back with the Milwaukee Brewers…Saladino hasn’t been quite as good. In 16 games, he’s managed a -0.4 WAR. Shaw has almost three times as many at bats in the Majors as Saladino, and he only has a -0.9 WAR.
So who goes down?
It makes zero sense to carry Shaw and Hiura on the same roster. It also makes zero sense to keep Saladino on the roster.
Hiura will probably back to San Antonio again, but he should take Saladino with him. Hiura and Moustakas both need to play every day, and that simply won’t be possible if Shaw’s on the roster. The only way Hiura and Shaw make sense on the same roster is if there’s an injury to Moustakas, Jesus Aguilar, or Eric Thames.
The Milwaukee Brewers are in a roster crunch right now. If they choose to call up Shaw, Hiura has to go down. The good news is that the Brewers don’t have to make a decision. Shaw was optioned to the Minors, so the team can keep him in Triple-A until Hiura slows down. He’s hitting better now, but he needs to string together a few weeks of solid at bats before he can be trusted again.