With the 2019 season complete for the Milwaukee Brewers, our report card grades continue.
When the 2019 season began, many were seeing big things ahead for third baseman Travis Shaw. Coming off back-to-back 30 home run campaigns, Shaw was primed for a huge season in his third year with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.
Travis Shaw Season Grade: D – Minus
This season was a disaster for Shaw. He started off in a mild slump at the plate, getting some hard-hit balls right at people, which then turned into a major slump that lasted pretty much all of April, and it just spiraled out of control from there. He started pressing at the plate, it got into his head, and after that, it was all a mental grind to get back into a groove more than a physical one.
Shaw finished with a career-worst stat line of .157/.281/.270 with just seven home runs, 16 RBIs, and a 45 OPS+. He lost his starting third base job and was demoted to Triple-A, twice. He saw success down in Triple-A, crushing the baseball down there. But whenever he was back in the big leagues, that success just didn’t translate.
He looked absolutely awful at the plate for the bulk of the season, seemingly lost up there, continually guessing wrong and missing pitches that he normally crushes. His strikeout rate skyrocketed from 18.4% last year to 33% in 2019. His BABIP was at a unusually low .216 for the season. You just don’t see that for hitters over a whole season, which points to a very unlucky season for Shaw.
That poor luck, combined with the mental pressure to perform with his job on the line led to the worst season of his career.
The only thing that’s saving Shaw from a complete ‘F’ for the season was how he performed in September, looking a lot better than he was earlier in the season. He stopped waving at bad pitches out of the zone and was patient up at the plate, drawing eight walks in his 38 plate appearances.
He hit a home run on September 16th and had a lot of positives to take into the offseason. He ended on a good note, which will be huge for his mindset moving into the winter and into next season.
Frankly, it’s up in the air as to whether Shaw will be brought back for the 2020 season. Milwaukee Brewers GM David Stearns wouldn’t publicly commit to bringing Shaw back and admitted it would be a tough decision for the front office coming down to the non-tender deadline.
While this season was catastrophic for Shaw, he has proven himself to be a well above-average big league hitter for multiple seasons. That’s difficult to give up on. He also made this a big topic moving forward into the offseason.