Not Rewarded: Travis Shaw
It’s a love-hate relationship with Travis Shaw. Shaw first came over to Milwaukee in 2017 after an offseason trade with the Boston Red Sox. He started off strong, putting up great seasons in 2017 and 2018, looking like the long-term answer at third base in Milwaukee.
However, Shaw got off to a terrible start in 2019, ended up losing his starting third base job and got sent down to the minors. He couldn’t get going the rest of the season and ended up getting non-tendered that winter.
This spring, the Brewers brought him back on a minor league contract with a very good chance of making the big league roster. He ended up making the team and he was looking like his old self for a little bit.
But only for a little bit.
After a strong first two weeks of the season, in which Shaw led the team in RBIs and was one of the league leaders in that category, Shaw’s numbers have plummeted.
Since April 16th, Shaw has hit .162/.258/.272 with just three home runs, 14 RBIs, and 40 strikeouts in 136 at-bats. His .202 BABIP shows he’s been unlucky somewhat in terms of the balls he does put in play, especially considering how often he hits into the shift as a dead-pull hitter.
Shaw is a great guy to have in the clubhouse, and is a capable defender at third base even though he has limited range. But his bat is going to be what keeps him in the lineup everyday, and we haven’t seen the 2017 or even 2018 Shaw in a long time.
The Brewers have remained patient with Shaw, having faith that he could find his 2017/18 form once again. They had faith in 2019 that didn’t result in a positive outcome, and then have tried their luck again in 2021 and it hasn’t resulted in anything better.
As long as Shaw remains on the roster and getting opportunities, the Brewers still have faith, but who knows how long he’ll stick on the roster if his slump continues like this. He’s likely going to be pushed back into a platoon role instead of an everyday role as the Brewers seek more production out of third base.
Hopefully Shaw can join the likes of Burnes and Peralta and reward the Brewers for their faith in him, but his situation as a veteran corner infielder is different than a young starting pitcher just getting settled in the big leagues.
Because of that different situation, his leash will be far shorter, but he’s been getting plenty of leash so far. More often than not, the Brewers have been rewarded for their faith in their players.