Of all the offseason acquisitions, the most pleasant surprise to many has to be none other than “The Mayor of Ding Dong City,” Travis Shaw. Heck, the most pleasant surprise out of all the current Brewers so far, at least the hitters, might be the Mayor of Ding Dong City.
I don’t think anybody predicted that he would come out of the gates swinging this hot of a bat. And not only has he been a consistent hitter for Craig Counsell, he’s also playing a spectacular third base.
Travis Shaw has the best average (.281) through his first ten games of a season since 2016, the year before he came to Milwaukee. Not even in 2017 and 2018, when he was a staple of those high-powered Brewers offenses, did he begin a season like this.
Now it may be too early to overreact and claim he’ll hover around a .300 average all season, but what he’s done at the plate is quite encouraging moving forward.
The addition of a confident Shaw adds a power element that this lineup could definitely use. Christian Yelich has struggled to find his usual power early on and there aren’t too many big boppers in the lineup other than Keston Hiura who might be coming around after an 0 for 21 start.
On Sunday, in a 9-3, series-clinching victory over the Cardinals, Shaw launched one 449 feet (111.7 mph exit velocity), one of the longest big flies of his career.
The offseason acquisition of “The Mayor,” Travis Shaw, is paying dividends for the Brewers early.
Again, statistics this early on in the season need to be taken with a grain of salt, but two major areas of improvement so far for Shaw are whiff and strikeout percentage. Last year in what was a bit of a bounce back year for him, he was only in the 21st percentile in strikeout percentage and the 34th percentile in whiff percentage.
Now, in 2021, he’s among the best in limiting whiffs (91st percentile) and has done better in not being struck out (44th percentile) per Baseball Savant. Part of the territory that comes with having Shaw is that he has that tendency to be punched out rather often. But as of right now, it’s a different story.
Along with his average and power numbers, he’s also shown two other elements of his game that have improved: defense and the ability to come up clutch. Shaw has done his part with the glove, sporting an unblemished 1.000 fielding percentage. He’s part of the reason the Brewers were tied for first in the MLB in Defensive Runs Saved three series into the season.
I don’t think we’re too far in that you forgot about the first game of the season where he drove in two runs to tie the game against the Twins with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. It was a storybook ending to that game for Shaw, who figures to be a main character in the metaphorical 162-page book that is the regular season.
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A productive Travis Shaw seemingly would go hand-in-hand with a quality Brewers baseball team. Seeing him look like his old self and having fun out on the diamond is a joy to watch. Hopefully he can continue his great start and be a reliable arm and bat for the Crew as you can never have too many of either.