He had a great Spring Training. He outplayed an injured Pablo Sandoval. Travis Shaw was the perfect option at third base. Except since May, he has been anything but an ideal starter.
In his last 69 games, Shaw has hit just .211 with a .269 on-base percentage and .644 OPS. So what does that say about him? Obviously, he has some power. But it really means he has been a detriment to their lineup — evident by his -1.393 Win Probability Added on Baseball Reference.
It seems like Shaw’s struggles this season have been ignored thanks to his hot start to the season. But for much of the season, he has essentially been a No. 9 quality hitter — and the kind of guy who leaves you thinking: why is he in the lineup every single game? He’s 2-for-19 in the past seven days. Seriously.
If he is their strongest starting option at third base, then the Red Sox should consider doing something to mask his struggles at the plate.
For instance, he’s hitting .196 with a .633 OPS against lefties this year and .276 with an .814 OPS against righties. He’s hitting .283 with an .846 OPS at Fenway and .224 with a .679 OPS on the road. Fenway is definitely where he prefers playing.
Keep in mind, those on-the-year splits include his hot stretch at the beginning of the season. So, essentially, there are times where Shaw could be giving them no production.
Perhaps they donate some of his road AB’s to Aaron Hill as well as any at-bats against southpaws for now. But there might be a better option soon.
Fret not, Red Sox fans. Yoan Moncada made his pro debut at third base yesterday and did not make an error. He’s also working on a ten game hit streak for the Portland Sea Dogs. Maybe he follows in Andrew Benintendi’s path and comes up soon. Maybe his time is now.