If Travis Shaw hit .249 in 77 games for the PawSox last year, you definitely wouldn’t know it — unless you checked up on his minor league stats. But his 30-home run pace in the big leagues overrides that. And for those doubting him, it is hard to believe he won’t be a regular this season — somewhere.
Shaw is slated to make the Red Sox team this season as a corner guy (first base, third base and left field maybe?). So for those complaining that Shaw is not going to be a starter and that he should be, worry not child. This one is pretty easy to figure out.
Say Shaw is the immediate backup at all three of those positions (more than likely, he won’t be in left field), he’d be second in line at the Red Sox’ three weakest positions this season.
Think about it.
Hanley Ramirez plays first base, or he is going to try to play first base. Defense is still a huge question mark with him — as is health. First is also where the Sox like Shaw best.
Pablo Sandoval waddled into camp in poor shape. The third baseman had a poor season last year, by his standards. And he has regressed in each of the past four seasons. Sure, he is likely to do better this year than last year. But that is no guarantee. If he’s not in shape too, then he could sustain injury — opening the spot to Shaw.
Rusney Castillo had a .566 OPS against righties last year. And the Red Sox want this guy starting? Are they crazy? Shaw played a few games in left for the PawSox last year and manager John Farrell has expressed interest in putting him out there sometime.
Even a David Ortiz injury (God forbid Red Sox fans, God forbid) would open up time for Shaw. He would most likely slip into first and that would move Hanley to DH. But no one wants to see that.
Shaw said he sees himself as a 20-25 home run kind of a guy. Any team would take that kind of production.
It was already announced that Shaw would be playing first base a good amount early in the year as Hanley becomes acclimated. If his bat holds up nearly as well as it did last year, Shaw will play — somewhere.
After Ortiz retires, a decent year this year would put Shaw in position to take the Red Sox starting first base job. But questions still linger as to whether or not he can repeat what he did last season. It’s tough to argue with power and plate discipline though.
Not bad for a guy who was mistaken for Garin Cecchini on his first baseball card ever.