Shaw-and-tell

effectivelywild

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ESPN had a semi-interesting article on Shaw a bit ago:
http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/red-sox/post/_/id/48727/travis-shaw-continuing-to-prove-he-has-big-league-staying-power

One of the saving graces of the Kung-Fool Panda saga has been the emergence of Shaw as a seemingly competent player at the hot corner by both bat and glove. For those of us outside of the New England area who don't get to see games regularly, I wanted to ask for some preliminary scouting reports on him. Obviously, SSS and all, but what do we have here? Is this another Middlebrooks or is this maybe more sustainable?
 

Drek717

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Was a Shaw booster early on last year, like what I'm seeing this year even more. He has really stepped up his game at 3B, lowering the floor of "acceptable" offensive production needed to be a good starter, but at the same time he has also matured further as a hitter.

Tools-wise he's nothing like Middlebrooks. Shaw is a grinder who sees pitches and displayed a strong penchant for taking outside pitches for singles and doubles thanks to his long reach. If he continues to display pull power on the inside like flashed some last season at the ML level and like he did against Wisler last night he's going to be something else.

I can't recall which beat writer it was (Speier?) that commented on his approach during his hot call up last season, noting that Shaw's best strength was discipline/strike zone control and that he could be seeing a benefit from that at the ML level where the umps call balls and strikes much more accurately as opposed to the low minors. His plate discipline numbers on fangraphs don't appear to indicate some kind of exceptional out of zone discipline is occurring, but his out of zone and inside zone swing numbers are both at nice healthy points relative to the rest of the league, as are his contact rates.

To me he's just a very cerebral hitter who works his ABs like a pro, has the size and power to put a charge into a ball when he gets a hold of one, but at the same time isn't the typical pull happy power hitter who gave up/never developed the ability to attack/protect against pitches on the outside part of the plate in pursuit of power.

I think that is why he gave LHPs fits last year as they kept trying to paint him on the outside edge and he kept slapping those pitches for hits thanks to those long arms and long bat. They continued to try tempting him on the edges and find a weakness to breaking balls early this year, without success, and as the ESPN article indicates have recently resorted to pitching him inside looking for an edge. Last night indicates they won't find it there either.
 

whatittakes

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The defense has been the pleasant surprise for me. . We all knew he was going to be at least an average hitter, but showing that he knows how to play an acceptable defensive 3b despite a lack of reps in that position in the minors is a massive positive. We could be seeing a stealth All-Star in the making, if he doesn't regress too far to the mean.
 

alwyn96

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Meaninglessly small sample size alert:

Balls in zone/Plays made = %
Shaw 2016 - 34/22 = 64.7%
Sandoval 2015 - 206/160 = 67.8%

Shaw does have a higher rate on out of zone plays, with 7 in 144 innings this year, and Sandoval having 34 in 1034 innings last year.

Obviously tiny samples. Shaw does seem to look a little better to my eye, but I can't rule out just thinking Sandoval looked worse because of the whole fat thing. Maybe Shaw's had more difficult chances early in the season. Who knows. Maybe he gets better with time. His throws have generally seemed pretty good. And, you know, he's hit pretty well. That .412 BABIP will come down, but even with a normalized BABIP he's been pretty good. He looks good at the plate, but guys who are hitting really well do tend to look like that.
 
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whatittakes

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Thing is though, no one was really complaining about Sandoval's defense last year. People were complaining because he couldn't hit worth a damn, but he was still somewhat acceptable defensively in 2015 exactly on the strength of in the zone plays. So saying that Shaw is just behind another third baseman at the only skill at which that other third baseman was especially good, is a rather mild criticism. Especially because you're already suggesting that Shaw has better range than Pablo (in fairness, he could hardly have worse range)
 

topps148

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We shouldn't forget that he only had about 100 games at third in the minors. I expect his fielding to be a work in progress. I guessed last year (too lazy to look for the post) that his fielding would probably be at least not worse than Sandoval's, while it appeared that his offense had a good chance to be better. So far this year, that's pretty much what we're seeing.
 

alwyn96

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Thing is though, no one was really complaining about Sandoval's defense last year. People were complaining because he couldn't hit worth a damn, but he was still somewhat acceptable defensively in 2015 exactly on the strength of in the zone plays. So saying that Shaw is just behind another third baseman at the only skill at which that other third baseman was especially good, is a rather mild criticism. Especially because you're already suggesting that Shaw has better range than Pablo (in fairness, he could hardly have worse range)
Oh, it's definitely mild criticism. I'm just saying that by the meaninglessly early numbers, Shaw doesn't appear wildly different than Sandoval in one dimension of defense. I'm pretty much 100% sure that some people complained about Sandoval's defense last year (can you imagine Red Sox fans not complaining about something?), but I agree that the hitting is really the thing. Shaw's defense is still a work in progress, but a 158 wRC+ can make up for a lot of defensive miscues.
 

whatittakes

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So far again with the early SSS caveat, Shaw has been almost exactly replacement level defensively and this in the wake of one of the worse defensive days he's had so far.. I'd question how many "miscues" there really have been.
 

alwyn96

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Small sample size alert, indeed. If he makes one more play, he's at 67.6%.
Agreed. I didn't mean to suggest that Sandoval was somehow "better." Just that there wasn't a huge difference thus far in a meaninglessly small sample. Just like Sandoval had a 124 wRC+ at this time last year. We saw how that turned out.

It's hard to say much so far, other than Shaw's defense at 3B seems non-terrible and the hitting has been great, if a little lucky.
 
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plucy

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a rock and a hard place
Early but I am concerned about Hanley. If he continues to struggle, do they move Shaw back and backfill with Rutledge or Hernandez at third until there is a better read on Travis' development, or do they leave Shaw at third for stability and bring in a FA on a temp basis? So is Shaw to become the now and future 3B or is this all stop gap until the Hanley/Panda saga is decided, maybe not until next year?
 

BillMuellerFanClub

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Meaninglessly small sample size alert:

Balls in zone/Plays made = %
Shaw 2016 - 34/22 = 64.7%
Sandoval 2015 - 206/160 = 67.8%

I just wanted to make a point regarding this, which someone also made, is that if he makes one more play he's basically on par with Sandoval, and the one that comes to mind was a hard grounder that struck the third base bag as Shaw was in position to field it cleanly on a hop with plenty of time to get the runner at first. It would have been a long throw, but from what we've seen of his ability, the play was very doable.
 

kieckeredinthehead

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Thing is though, no one was really complaining about Sandoval's defense last year. People were complaining because he couldn't hit worth a damn, but he was still somewhat acceptable defensively in 2015 exactly on the strength of in the zone plays. So saying that Shaw is just behind another third baseman at the only skill at which that other third baseman was especially good, is a rather mild criticism. Especially because you're already suggesting that Shaw has better range than Pablo (in fairness, he could hardly have worse range)
Sandoval's defense was atrocious last year and plenty of people were complaining about it.
 

YTF

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Early but I am concerned about Hanley. If he continues to struggle, do they move Shaw back and backfill with Rutledge or Hernandez at third until there is a better read on Travis' development, or do they leave Shaw at third for stability and bring in a FA on a temp basis? So is Shaw to become the now and future 3B or is this all stop gap until the Hanley/Panda saga is decided, maybe not until next year?
The Sox offense is doing just fine. Ramirez is embracing his new position, he's making the effort out there and playing a decent 1B. The overall team defense has been great. Let Hanley and Shaw continue to learn and grow into their new positions.
 

simplicio

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Oh, it's definitely mild criticism. I'm just saying that by the meaninglessly early numbers, Shaw doesn't appear wildly different than Sandoval in one dimension of defense. I'm pretty much 100% sure that some people complained about Sandoval's defense last year (can you imagine Red Sox fans not complaining about something?), but I agree that the hitting is really the thing. Shaw's defense is still a work in progress, but a 158 wRC+ can make up for a lot of defensive miscues.
Panda's hands and throws looked fine, but I recall there being plenty of complaints, especially concerning his range (which largely consisted of taking a step and falling over) and inability to jump for line drives and get down on hard grounders. Shaw's been looking really smooth bare handing bunts and dribblers that Sandoval wouldn't get anywhere near on time.
 

begranter

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I can't recall which beat writer it was (Speier?) that commented on his approach during his hot call up last season, noting that Shaw's best strength was discipline/strike zone control and that he could be seeing a benefit from that at the ML level where the umps call balls and strikes much more accurately as opposed to the low minors. His plate discipline numbers on fangraphs don't appear to indicate some kind of exceptional out of zone discipline is occurring, but his out of zone and inside zone swing numbers are both at nice healthy points relative to the rest of the league, as are his contact rates.
I remember last year one of the things Shaw attributed his success in the majors vs. the minors to was (among other things) the better lighting in the major league ballpark.

Shaw thinks he knows why he’s hit in the big leagues and not in the minors. “It’s a bunch of different things,” he said. “There’s a lot more data available to you up here. You can see pitchers’ tendencies on video and how they’re pitching you. You can make adjustments on the fly because of it.

...

Shaw, a ninth-round pick in 2011 out of Kent State, also credits the better lighting of major league stadiums and pitchers who are more around the plate than minor leaguers. “The lighting is a big difference,” he said. “It’s so noticeable. You just see the ball so much better coming up to the plate. The pitchers also have an idea of what they’re doing out there and trying to get you out. But they’re less wild, so you know they’re going to be around the plate more often than not.”
https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/09/14/travis-shaw-playing-his-way-into-red-sox-plans/OKMLZMjcRnHTUlKSVg7mBJ/story.html
 

Sampo Gida

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I remember last year one of the things Shaw attributed his success in the majors vs. the minors to was (among other things) the better lighting in the major league ballpark.



https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/09/14/travis-shaw-playing-his-way-into-red-sox-plans/OKMLZMjcRnHTUlKSVg7mBJ/story.html
I don't know if its true anymore, but in 2002 a test report on MLB balls was released by MLB to show that the balls were within MLB specs in the wake of HR records being smashed, and in one section they reported on minor league balls and showed that the MLB ball travelled 10 ft further in what they called the 400 ft test , so basically the MLB ball was/is more livelier. No time to search for the link but I remember the report was available on alan nathan's site
 

HriniakPosterChild

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Within the past week, Travis Shaw recognized a potentially troublesome trend. Opposing pitchers were attacking him with inside fastballs, believing he's vulnerable to pitches in that location. And so, after he went hitless on Monday night, the young Boston Red Sox third baseman spent extra time in the batting cage on Tuesday making an adjustment to his swing.
***
Sure enough, in the first inning, Atlanta Braves starter Matt Wisler's fourth pitch to Shaw began inside before drifting back over the plate. Shaw turned on it, hammering it over the right-field wall for a three-run home run that keyed the Red Sox's 13-hit outburst in an 11-4 rout at Turner Field.

And just like that, if there was any lingering doubt about Shaw's big-league staying power, it was erased.

"It's something I didn't want to really have to focus on, but it seemed like that was becoming more of the book on me right now," Shaw said of the perception that he is weak on inside pitches. "I wanted to go ahead and close that up before it got out of hand."
***
"The league's going to adjust to you, and you've got to find a way to make your adjustments fast. He's been doing that," Pedroia said. "That way it's 10 at-bats, instead of 20 or 30. It's been great to watch him do that. He's got a good swing, he's got a good IQ for the game. We're all confident in him."
Red Sox's Travis Shaw continuing to prove he has big-league staying power
 

TonyPenaNeverJuiced

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I was super impressed with Shaw's triple tonight. Took a decent fastball for a called strike 1, then gets pretty good change/fork off of Gant - laces it with some top spin to the bullpen wall. Notice how he's committed with his hips early but is able to keep his hands back, yet still pulls the ball (with some topspin). That's great hitting, and the kid's obviously locked in right now... or this is the new normal.

 

whatittakes

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Wait so this kid came with the package that you hope all these toolsy hitters develop already intact? The one where he'd able to make on the fly adjustments rather than relying on raw talent?

I know we appreciate Shaw but I stilldon't think we realize just how lucky we got with him.
 

simplicio

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First Duffy, now Shaw... Any chance we could flip Sandoval to a team with an up and coming 3B prospect as a good luck charm?
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Was Duffy even an "up and coming... prospect"??? I thought he was considered marginal AAAA talent- similar to Shaw. This kid has really been a revelation so far. We've definitely been on the stink end of Lady Luck the past few years it seems so Shaw has been great on turning that over.
His discipline is what is really impressive and has me feeling confident that this isn't just a short hot streak. He seems like he'll start launching some rockets over the fences shortly- his swing is too compact and quick to not start knocking some more over the fences.
 

inoffensiv philosophy

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Was Duffy even an "up and coming... prospect"??? I thought he was considered marginal AAAA talent- similar to Shaw.
Yeah, pretty much. He was a lousy hitter in college -- never had a home run, and his OPSes went .536, .588, .625 before he was drafted as a senior. Drafted in the 18th round. He was pretty good in both of his first two full minor league seasons (2013-4) in A-ball and AA, however -- OPS above .800 in both seasons and 12 homers total. He made the back-end of some org top tens on the basis of that. But, yeah, he had just one fewer homer in his first full MLB season, 2015, than he had in his entire college and minor league career.

Shaw had much more pedigree -- OPS over .950 every year in college, taken in the 9th round, and slightly more success in the lower minors.

This is just the offensive side, and the stats, though.
 

timlinin8th

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Tools-wise he's nothing like Middlebrooks. Shaw is a grinder who sees pitches and displayed a strong penchant for taking outside pitches for singles and doubles thanks to his long reach. If he continues to display pull power on the inside like flashed some last season at the ML level and like he did against Wisler last night he's going to be something else.

To me he's just a very cerebral hitter who works his ABs like a pro, has the size and power to put a charge into a ball when he gets a hold of one, but at the same time isn't the typical pull happy power hitter who gave up/never developed the ability to attack/protect against pitches on the outside part of the plate in pursuit of power.
I had my doubts about Shaw coming in but now having watched a good sample of his ABs this season I like what I've seen and this analysis is spot-on. He may or may not be able to maintain the level of production he's had so far, but just from watching the way he manages the strike zone and the pitches he selects to swing at remind me a little of a lefty-only Bill Mueller. Right now he's at .324/.392/.521, so even with a decline he would still be everything this team could've asked of a young 3B filling the void given the Panda debacle.
 

EricFeczko

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I think we'll have to wait and see with Shaw. Although his patience is encouraging, right now he may be hitting well because pitchers haven't figured him out yet (.417 BABIP).
It is interesting that he prefers the lighting in the major league ballparks. I wonder if he has some rod deficiency, which produces limited dark adaptation and is not uncommon in humans today. It would be trivial to test it, if the FO desired.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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I think we'll have to wait and see with Shaw. Although his patience is encouraging, right now he may be hitting well because pitchers haven't figured him out yet (.417 BABIP).
The high BABIP is especially a red flag because of his batted-ball profile: solid but not exceptional LD% so far (22.2) combined with extreme flyball tendency (27.8% GB, 50.0% FB). That's not a recipe for a high BABIP, especially for a slow guy. On top of that, he has a pretty high Soft% (24.1%, in the top quintile of qualified MLBers). So while we've all seen him hit some balls hard, this does look like the profile of a guy who's been having a lot of bloops and fliners drop in and is probably due for a big correction.

OTOH, he has good plate discipline, which raises his floor, and Fenway is a good place for a lefthanded flyball hitter with middling power. So I don't think we should worry about the bottom falling out. He should be able to provide enough offense to be at least a league-average 3B as long as the defense doesn't suck too much.
 

BaseballJones

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I had my doubts about Shaw coming in but now having watched a good sample of his ABs this season I like what I've seen and this analysis is spot-on. He may or may not be able to maintain the level of production he's had so far, but just from watching the way he manages the strike zone and the pitches he selects to swing at remind me a little of a lefty-only Bill Mueller. Right now he's at .324/.392/.521, so even with a decline he would still be everything this team could've asked of a young 3B filling the void given the Panda debacle.
Do you guys think Shaw is the likely long-term guy at 3b, or do you think he gives way to Moncada in the next year or two? Because by any measure Mondaca projects to be much, much better than Shaw, but he's blocked at 2b by Pedroia, so 3b seems the most likely scenario.

Or is maybe Shaw likely to move to 1b, Hanley to DH, and Moncada to 3b?
 

rembrat

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Don't really good hitters post high BABIP though? Granted not .400 but mid 3's?
 

Marbleheader

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Shaw put on a hell of a show. He was fouling off tough pitches effortlessly, not quite Boggs-like, but really impressive. I hope they don't feel they need to showcase Pablo and cut into his playing time.
 

Buzzkill Pauley

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I think the most likely 2018 scenario -- if neither of the Sox' two best hitting prospects get traded or flame out -- will move Hanley to full-time DH, Shaw to 1B, Moncada to 3B, and Benintendi to LF.

It might even happen mid-2017, since Moncada and Benintendi look like they'll be both be getting early promotions to Portland.
 

Maximus

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I think the most likely 2018 scenario -- if neither of the Sox' two best hitting prospects get traded or flame out -- will move Hanley to full-time DH, Shaw to 1B, Moncada to 3B, and Benintendi to LF.

It might even happen mid-2017, since Moncada and Benintendi look like they'll be both be getting early promotions to Portland.
I agree this is the going forward plan and I wouldn't be surprised if it happens in 2017, it will be 2018 at the latest. Shaw just wants to play, 3B or 1B is irrelevant to him.
 

BaseballJones

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I think the most likely 2018 scenario -- if neither of the Sox' two best hitting prospects get traded or flame out -- will move Hanley to full-time DH, Shaw to 1B, Moncada to 3B, and Benintendi to LF.

It might even happen mid-2017, since Moncada and Benintendi look like they'll be both be getting early promotions to Portland.
Makes sense. And wither Sam Travis? He doesn't really have much power but seems to have the tools to be a .300+ hitter (.800+ ops). Career minor league numbers (including AFL) of .313/.371/.462/.833. Just a AAAA guy? Or a guy you can trade away and get something useful for if the scenario is DH Hanley, 1b Shaw, 3b Moncada?
 

JimBoSox9

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I remember last year one of the things Shaw attributed his success in the majors vs. the minors to was (among other things) the better lighting in the major league ballpark.



https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2015/09/14/travis-shaw-playing-his-way-into-red-sox-plans/OKMLZMjcRnHTUlKSVg7mBJ/story.html
If this is all true, and someone with this kind of set of skills can almost be lost in the shuffle because of it, isn't it one of the most damning case studies to date proving that how minor league development works is laughably inadequate?
 

bellowthecat

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The best offensive players can consistently put up BABIPs in the low to mid .300s during their prime, but generally not by hitting flyballs >40% of the time.
 

Pandemonium67

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I was super impressed with Shaw's triple tonight. Took a decent fastball for a called strike 1, then gets pretty good change/fork off of Gant - laces it with some top spin to the bullpen wall. Notice how he's committed with his hips early but is able to keep his hands back, yet still pulls the ball (with some topspin). That's great hitting, and the kid's obviously locked in right now... or this is the new normal.

Thanks for posting this gif. Can't argue with the result (a triple), but to my uneducated eye that swing doesn't look like the best approach. He's really stretching and fishing. Generally, trying to pull a low, outside pitch yields a bouncer to second 90% of the time, and an easy DP if there's a guy on first. Wouldn't Shaw be better served to step into that pitch and try to line it to left? Or is that much harder done than said? Like I said, I'm uneducated about hitting theory and what's feasible, but I generally think that a huge number of shitty at-bats are the result of trying to pull the unpullable.
 

TonyPenaNeverJuiced

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Thanks for posting this gif. Can't argue with the result (a triple), but to my uneducated eye that swing doesn't look like the best approach. He's really stretching and fishing. Generally, trying to pull a low, outside pitch yields a bouncer to second 90% of the time, and an easy DP if there's a guy on first. Wouldn't Shaw be better served to step into that pitch and try to line it to left? Or is that much harder done than said? Like I said, I'm uneducated about hitting theory and what's feasible, but I generally think that a huge number of shitty at-bats are the result of trying to pull the unpullable.
Absolutely - that's what he should do if he's looking for that pitch, and (hyperbole) 9 times out of 10 you'd roll that. But he makes an immediate adjustment, lowers his hands and muscles the ball to within 20ft or so the warning track in deep-right-center. What causes more outs in that situation (at least to my mostly uneducated eye) is throwing your hips forward/out and either a. completely whiffing (pitcher's intent on Gant change-like forkball) or b. making weak contact to the right side a la contact on a change up.

By keeping his hands back, even when making a mistake with his hips, Shaw allows himself to pull the ball as if he'd been waiting on it. If he doesn't throw his hips towards first (but is still out in front), and instead steps more toward the pitcher or even third, he makes contact to the left side, either as a ground ball or likely a weak popup (the effect of not driving the ball with whatever remaining hip/arm strength he has his body is pulling the opposite direction). Also of note is how impressively he keeps both hands on the bat through contact - it's what allows him to make that into a powerful liner and not a pop-out to right.
 

Drek717

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The high BABIP is especially a red flag because of his batted-ball profile: solid but not exceptional LD% so far (22.2) combined with extreme flyball tendency (27.8% GB, 50.0% FB). That's not a recipe for a high BABIP, especially for a slow guy. On top of that, he has a pretty high Soft% (24.1%, in the top quintile of qualified MLBers). So while we've all seen him hit some balls hard, this does look like the profile of a guy who's been having a lot of bloops and fliners drop in and is probably due for a big correction.

OTOH, he has good plate discipline, which raises his floor, and Fenway is a good place for a lefthanded flyball hitter with middling power. So I don't think we should worry about the bottom falling out. He should be able to provide enough offense to be at least a league-average 3B as long as the defense doesn't suck too much.
Further mining the batted ball numbers: his Oppo% this year (24.1% pull, 40.7 % center, 35.2 % Oppo) is pretty damn good for a big body LH corner infielder. He was more pull oriented last year (39.8 % 33.9 % 26.3 %) and generated a much higher HR/FB rate and had a substantially higher ISO until the last two nights, though the HR, double, and triple of the last two games were all pulled if I recall correctly. I wouldn't be surprised if the high BABIP, while a mirage, is an effect of pitchers and defense trying to take away his ability to pull the ball and Shaw is simply riding that for what you describe as bloops and fliners, but into the spots defenses aren't covering. His BABIP will absolutely correct itself, but he had a .304 BABIP last year with a line of .270 .327 .487 (BA/OBP/SLG) so if the decline sees him move from a mid-.900's OPS to a low .800's OPS with passable roughly average 3B defense that would be a massive step up for the Sox 3B players since Youk broke down following the AGon trade.

His BB% is something really interesting me. Up until AAA he was consistently in the low teens. in AAA it dropped down to 8.1% in consecutive stints, with a 7.3% at the ML level last year. He is currently walking at a 10.8% rate. If this is the new normal and he maintains an BA:OBP delta of roughly .080 his BA could drop back down to a more normalized BABIP level of .270 while still posting a .350 OBP, making him a mid-800's OPS guy.

That is about what I expect of him long term. Solid but unspectacular defense at 1B and 3B with an OPS in the .790 to .850 range. He's barely 26 so he could likely maintain that production through his controlled years but wouldn't be worth much of an extension beyond that. In short, an incredibly valuable find from the farm if this continues to prove itself out.


I think the most likely 2018 scenario -- if neither of the Sox' two best hitting prospects get traded or flame out -- will move Hanley to full-time DH, Shaw to 1B, Moncada to 3B, and Benintendi to LF.

It might even happen mid-2017, since Moncada and Benintendi look like they'll be both be getting early promotions to Portland.
I think this is a pretty accurate depiction of where the club will look to fit Shaw, Hanley, Moncada, etc. in but with Hanley making the move to DH in 2017 and Sam Travis taking 1B in his place. If Travis, Shaw, and Hanley all produce and Moncada appears to be best fit at 3B it wouldn't be hard to envision a rotational role where Travis Shaw takes time at 1B, 3B, and DH while Sam Travis and Moncada are fixed at their respective corners. Moncada is a switch hitter, Hanley and Sam Travis are both RH, so Shaw could easily spell all three at least once a week against RHPs. This would also protect Shaw as his ML level reverse split has more than rebounded on him to a substantial normal split so far in 2016.

Expanding this hypothetical further into dreamland, Benintendi in LF would also pair well with Swihart as a #2 C/backup LF as Benintendi last year had a normal split and both Vazquez (a straight RHB) and Swihart (a switch with a moderate split in favor of LHP) prefer LHPs, giving Benintendi an in-house minor platoon partner without costing a roster spot.
 

shaggydog2000

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Don't really good hitters post high BABIP though? Granted not .400 but mid 3's?
Yes. And they have that high BABIP because they hit a lot of line drives, and they hit balls hard. Fly balls are good for power numbers, but tend to produce a low batting average. That's why Savin showed Shaw's batted ball rates and referenced his soft hit %. Shaw's other numbers don't suggest he should have a high BABIP. I'm also thinking I saw an article comparing exit velocities that had him in it, and they weren't particularly good. I'll have to look for that info.
 

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Last year Shaw hit the ball 89 mph, this year 87.6, and teams are going up and up and in on him with weaker results more and more due to his leg kick timing device and uppercut swing. He ranks 186th of 253 in batted ball velocity and his batted ball profile does not support a BABIP within .100 points of where it is currently.
 

TonyPenaNeverJuiced

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Jun 7, 2015
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Last year Shaw hit the ball 89 mph, this year 87.6, and teams are going up and up and in on him with weaker results more and more due to his leg kick timing device and uppercut swing. He ranks 186th of 253 in batted ball velocity and his batted ball profile does not support a BABIP within .100 points of where it is currently.
I don't think anyone believes he can keep his BABIP near where it's at. But the converse argument is that while he's not hitting the ball as hard (SSS should be stamped over this whole thread), he's hitting it more to the opposite field and he's taking slightly more pitches than he has in the past (only Holt beats him on the team, and Shaw takes 0.3 more P/PA than the league average, which is in line with where he was last year).

What's glaring so far - and at least gives some hope (or maybe confusion) is that Shaw's been really, really bad vs. lefties (2 for 15, 4Ks, 0BB) and really, really good vs. righties (aka, everything that's made him worth talking about so thank goodness we've faced so many RHP). This, as Drek717 pointed out, is probably "coming back to earth."

Except in the minors, Shaw's splits are kinda all over the place. 2015 in AAA, he showed a much more normal split, except for pretty similar SLG (.347 vs L, .361 vs. R). In 2014, he starts in AA and rakes, with a "normal" split that bottoms out vs. lefties at a .782 OPS. He then moves up to AAA where in 90ABs vs. LHP he has a .508OPS. Going back further, in 2013 he was just better against lefties across the board. I know OPS isn't the be-all-end-all, but look at any of his stats from the minors and the pattern that emerges is a guy who adjusts at each level he's been at. No, he's not gonna have a .400+ BABIP, but we could expect a better player than last year.

As to your point about teams going up and up on him, I'm not seeing that in the charts (really need to call out SSS here and that I'd be glad to be wrong here). He's seeing more balls way up and way down, but his contact% and swing% are generally the same as last year, with a few minor exceptions (like an odd outlier of less contact% down and away). Lefties, when he has faced him, seem to have wised up to throwing up and in - but 15AB, plus his splits history, is a little from which to draw any conclusions.
 

JBJ_HOF

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As to your point about teams going up and up on him, I'm not seeing that in the charts (really need to call out SSS here and that I'd be glad to be wrong here). He's seeing more balls way up and way down, but his contact% and swing% are generally the same as last year, with a few minor exceptions (like an odd outlier of less contact% down and away). Lefties, when he has faced him, seem to have wised up to throwing up and in - but 15AB, plus his splits history, is a little from which to draw any conclusions.
I am seeing pitches up and in to him increased 22% so far, with exit velocities in the low 60s to 70s range.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I think the most likely 2018 scenario -- if neither of the Sox' two best hitting prospects get traded or flame out -- will move Hanley to full-time DH, Shaw to 1B, Moncada to 3B, and Benintendi to LF.

It might even happen mid-2017, since Moncada and Benintendi look like they'll be both be getting early promotions to Portland.
Crap man.... And where the hell is Devers in all of this!?!?!? Benintendi in LF, JBJ in CF, Mookie in RF, Shaw at 1B, Dustin 2B, X at SS, Moncada 3B and Vazquez at C with Devers, Holt, Swihart and Travis all sitting there with nothing to do... wow.
 

Rasputin

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Crap man.... And where the hell is Devers in all of this!?!?!? Benintendi in LF, JBJ in CF, Mookie in RF, Shaw at 1B, Dustin 2B, X at SS, Moncada 3B and Vazquez at C with Devers, Holt, Swihart and Travis all sitting there with nothing to do... wow.
How about Moncada in left, Benintendi in CF, Betts in R, X at SS, Pedroia at 2B, Shaw, Travis and Hanley in some form covering first, third, and DH, and Vazquez catching.

At least one of Moncada, Benintendi, Travis, and Shaw is probably going to end up turning into a pumpkin, but we're in pretty good shape regardless.
 

Buzzkill Pauley

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Crap man.... And where the hell is Devers in all of this!?!?!? Benintendi in LF, JBJ in CF, Mookie in RF, Shaw at 1B, Dustin 2B, X at SS, Moncada 3B and Vazquez at C with Devers, Holt, Swihart and Travis all sitting there with nothing to do... wow.
Two words: starting pitching.

Well, really, I hope not, but yeah. Probably gotta throw it out there.

Regardless if he gets traded, Devers' development path (should it not stall out) likely won't see him MLB-ready until about another 4 years out, or approximately the same timeframe as Hanley's off the books. And the Red Sox of the 2020's are probably going to be best defensively with Devers being Hanley's heir apparent at DH whether he actually outgrows 3B or not. Moncada and SamTravisShaw are likely, though not certainly, going to be the better fielders at the corners.

Honestly, though, the best thing in the world to help the Sox keep all their current uber-prospects, is EdRo and Wright both developing into credible rotation pieces to fill out the core (Price and Porcello). If they do, then DDski won't necessarily have to go fishing with sushi-grade bait on the hook.
 

Montana Fan

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I think the most likely 2018 scenario -- if neither of the Sox' two best hitting prospects get traded or flame out -- will move Hanley to full-time DH, Shaw to 1B, Moncada to 3B, and Benintendi to LF.

It might even happen mid-2017, since Moncada and Benintendi look like they'll be both be getting early promotions to Portland.