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Travis Shaw

From BR Bullpen

Note: This page is for first baseman Travis Shaw who made his major league debut in 2015; for others with the same name click here


Travis Richard Shaw

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

First baseman Travis Shaw made his big league debut with the Boston Red Sox in 2015. He is the son of pitcher Jeff Shaw.

Amateur Career[edit]

He hit .544 as a high school junior and .560 as a senior. He also played basketball, golf and football in high school. He was drafted by the Red Sox in the 32nd round of the 2008 amateur draft out of high school, one pick after Nick Christiani, but opted not to sign. He hit .331/.421/.544 as a college freshman, including a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 9th against Northern Illinois. He helped the Cincinnati Steam to the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League title; he hit .247 with 5 HR. As a sophomore at Kent State, he batted .330/.453/.622 with 15 home runs, 49 walks, 60 runs and 60 RBI in 59 games. He was 10th in the Mid-American Conference in runs, third in doubles (22), tied T.J. Blanton for fifth in homers, in the top 10 in OBP and slugging, 6th in RBI and first in walks (6 ahead of Zach Dygert).

With the Bourne Braves in the summer of 2010, Travis produced at a .260/.378/.402 clip. His 26 walks were second in the Cape Cod League, behind Pratt Maynard. As a junior, he hit .307/.401/.553 with 14 home runs, 53 RBI and 40 walks in 62 games. He was 6th in the MAC with 48 runs, second with 135 total bases, first in home runs, third in RBI and third in walks. He was the All-MAC third baseman.He did ink a contract when he was taken by Boston in the 9th round of the 2011 amateur draft out of college. The signing scout was Jon Adkins.

Pro Career[edit]

In his inaugural professional season, Shaw hit .262/.371/.446 with 8 home runs, 34 walks and 36 RBI in 57 games for the Lowell Spinners (he also played 2 games for the Greenville Drive, hitting .333 in 9 at-bats). He tied David Medina and Tyler Collins for 5th in the New York-Penn League in homers. He hit a combined .287/.397/.517 with 19 home runs, 85 RBI, 44 doubles, 82 runs scored, 12 stolen bases and 80 walks in 130 games split between the Salem Red Sox (.305/.411/.545 in 99 G) and Portland Sea Dogs (.227/.353/.427 in 31 G) in 2012; 16 of his 19 homers came in A ball as did 73 of his 85 RBI, his numbers much worse in AA. His two-run homer off Tyler Matzek earned him the MVP of the California-Carolina League All-Star Game. He tied Marcus Semien and Sean Coyle for 5th in the Carolina League in doubles (31), was 8th in home runs, tied Michael Earley for 4th in RBI and was third with 59 walks (behind Chris Garcia and Dan Black) despite his limited time in the league. He led the league in OBP (3 points ahead of Garcia), slugging (40 points ahead of Xander Bogaerts), was third in average (after Carlos Sanchez and Black) and led in OPS (74 points ahead of Black). He was named the All-Star DH (Black got the nod at 1B). Among Red Sox farmhands, he was third in runs (behind Jackie Bradley and Garin Cecchini), first in doubles (two ahead of Bradley), tied Jeremy Hazelbaker for 4th in homers, second in RBI (two behind Keury De La Cruz) and second to Bradley in walks. He was third in minor league baseball in doubles, behind only Ray Navarrete and Adam Eaton. Only Eaton was higher in the affiliated minors.

In 2013, he hit .221/.342/.394 with 16 home runs and 50 RBI in 127 games for Portland while fielding .992 at 1B. He was 5th in the Eastern League with 77 walks, between Ryan Schimpf and Ramon Flores. He tied Coyle and Michael Almanzar for third in the Boston chain in dingers, three shy of David Chester and Bryce Brentz. He was also third in walks after Cecchini and Mookie Betts. He hit .361/.452/.705 for the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League to revive his stock a bit after that poor summer in terms of batting average. He was 3rd in the AFL in RBI (19 in 17 G; behind only Mitch Haniger and C.J. Cron), tied for 5th in runs (18), 5th in average, 5th in OBP (between Kris Bryant and Jorge Alfaro), 2nd in slugging (behind Bryant), 3rd in OPS (after Bryant and Cron) and tied Cron and Jared Mitchell for second with 5 homers, one behind Bryant. He was a non-roster invitee to the Red Sox's spring training in 2014. He split the season between Portland and the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox, producing a batting line of .278/.353/.473 in 128 games. he hit 29 doubles and 21 homers and drove in 78 runs.

Major Leagues[edit]

Shaw was back at Pawtucket to start the 2015 season. He was hitting only .189 after 24 games when got the call to the Show. In his debut on May 8th, he started at first base against the Toronto Blue Jays and went 0 for 2 with a walk while hitting ninth, as the Red Sox were blanked, 7-0, on only two hits. He only stayed in the big leagues for that day, as he was sent down the following day to make room for pitcher Matt Barnes. He came back to Boston in June, but went 0 for 7 in limited action. He finally got his first base hits on July 7th when he went 3-for-4 in a 4-3 win over the Miami Marlins. He then played regularly at first base in the second half of the season after the Red Sox traded incumbent Mike Napoli and gave playing time to younger players. In 65 games, he hit .270 and showed excellent power with 10 doubles and 13 homers, driving in 36 runs. However, heading into 2016, the Red Sox announced that they would move the high-priced Hanley Ramirez to first base, because he had not been able to handle defensive duties in left field the previous season, apparently putting Travis out of a job. In spring training however, he was able to beat out another veteran with a large contract, Pablo Sandoval, for the opening day third base job. Even though first base had been his primary position in the minors, he had spent a bit of time at the hot corner every season, and the Sox were confident he could handle the position at the major league level. He started off the year very well, but cooled down in the second half and was no longer a starter by the time the postseason rolled around. In 145 games, he hit .242 with 16 homers and 71 RBIs while starting 99 games at third base and another 28 at first base. In the Division Series, he appeared in only one game, going 1 for 2. With top minor leaguer Yoan Moncada on the verge of taking over at third base for the Red Sox, Shaw was considered expendable, and on December 6th, he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers along with two prospects - Mauricio Dubon and Josh Pennington - in return for reliever Tyler Thornburg.

The Brewers were not expected to do much in 2017, but they got off to a good start behind the hitting of Eric Thames, repatriated from the KBO, and given the early-season struggles of the favorites in the NL Central, they took over the lead for a respectable spell, and were still in the running for a postseason slot as the season wound down. Shaw was one of the main offensive contributors for the Brew Crew, and on September 23rd, he had one of the biggest hits of the year for the team. In the third game of a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs at Miller Park, after Milwaukee had lost the first two games both in extra innings to fall into the third place, he came to bat against closer Wade Davis in the 10th with the Brewers trailing, 3-2, and hit a two-run walk-off homer that gave Milwaukee a 4-3 win, moving them within one game of the second wild card slot. However, they were unable to close the deal, and finished just shy of the postseason. Shaw finished the season at .273 with 31 homers and 101 RBIs in 144 games.

Milwaukee got over the hump in 2018, reaching the postseason by winning the division title after a one-game playoff against the Chicago Cubs tacked on at the end of the regular season. Shaw had another good year, although it looked worse than the previous one , superficially, because his batting average fell to .241 in 152 games and his RBI total went down to 86. His OPS+ was stable however, at 119 after being 121 in his break-out season, and he hit 32 homers. he saw some playing time at second base late in the season, as the Brewers tried to add some extra offensive punch by bringing in 3B Mike Moustakas from the Kansas City Royals at the trading deadline. In the postseason, Shaw hit .364 as the Brewers swept the Colorado Rockies in three games in the Division Series, and then went 4 for 19 (.211) with a double, a triple and a homer in their loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games in the NLCS. After two solid season, he fell apart in 2019 however, as he batted just .157 in 86 games, with 7 homers and 16 RBIs. He shared the third base slot with Moustakas, who had a much better season. He still made the postseason roster and drew a walk in his only plate appearance as a pinch-hitter in the Wild Card Game, which Milwauke lost to th eventual World Series winners, the Washington Nationals.

His value much diminished, Shaw became a free agent after the 2019 season. The Toronto Blue Jays took a chance on him, signing him to a one-year deal at a bargain price of $4 million on December 30th. He was originally expercted to be given a shot to start at first base in place of Justin Smoak, who had left via free agency. Plans changed after the Coronavirus pandemic wiped out three months of action, as when spring training resumed in early July, the Jays announced that 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. would move to first base over concerns about his defensive play, moving Shaw to the hot corner. He ended up starting 32 of the Jays' 60 games there, in addition to 8 starts at first, and had bounceback season, hitting .239 with 6 homers and 17 RBIs in 50 games for an OPS+ of 95. He played one of the team's two postseason games against the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card Series, going 1 for 4. On December 2nd, however, the Jays decided to non-tender him rather than have him go through salary arbitration, as teams across baseball cut ties to expensive veterans in light of the financial uncertainties facing them.

On February 23, 2021, Travis signed with the Brewers for a second tour with the team with which he had had his greatest success, but he failed to recapture that form. In 56 games, he hit .191 with 6 homers and 28 RBIs, for an OPS+ of 66 while playing third base and first base. He was placed on waivers in mid-August and on August 15th was claimed by the Red Sox, starting a second tour with that team as well. He was slated to help out a first base, a position where the Red Sox had struggled to find adequate production all season. He had been on the injured list since June 9th due to a dislocated left shoulder and had recently started a rehabilitation assignment when he was claimed by Boston. He quickly proved his worth to his new team as on August 23rd, he hit a walk-off grand slam off Dennis Santana in the 11th inning to give Boston an 8-4 win over the Texas Rangers. It was his first hit since joining the team.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 2 (2017 & 2018)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 2 (2017 & 2018)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (2017)


Related Sites[edit]