Brewers cleanup hitter candidate #2: Travis Shaw
Out of the 562 games that Travis Shaw has started in his career, he has hit cleanup in 260 of them, so he’s no stranger to the spot in the lineup. His best OBP and SLG numbers (min 10 games started) come in the cleanup spot and he has 55 home runs and 55 doubles in those 260 games. Last season with the Blue Jays, Shaw started the majority of his games in the three-hole, with only one start at cleanup where he went 1-3 with a walk and a double.
First and foremost, he needs to perform well enough in spring to make the Opening Day roster. From there, the major focus for Shaw should be trying to get back to his 2018/2019 form and the place in the lineup will come, but it’s nice to have an option with some experience at that spot.
Despite the lack of production that he’s seen in the past couple seasons, I believe that he just profiles too well at third base for the Crew to not start him there. Success for the Mayor of Ding Dong City could very possibly be the key to success for the entire team as the Brewers’ third base bats last year were a shell of what they’d been in the past.
Unless he has a scorching Spring, I wouldn’t count on him to be the Opening Day cleanup hitter. But if he finds a groove during the 2021 campaign, look for Craig Counsell to put him back in the spot he had so much success in during his first spell with Milwaukee.