Sunday, March 13, 2016

Travis Shaw is the least hyped young player on the Red Sox

Chris O'Meara / Associated Press

Travis Shaw is one of my favorite players this spring. It seems like every time he comes to the plate or makes a smooth-looking play in the field, the announcers call him the "red-hot Travis Shaw."

He's had an exciting big league career so far, too. He finished the 2015 season with 13 home runs and 61 hits in just 226 at bats.

The weird thing about Shaw is that he wasn't great in the minors. In his 635 AAA (2015 and 2014 combined) at bats, he only hit 15 home runs and had a batting average of .242. He's one of the rare players that excels at a higher level.

During a game, Jerry Remy was discussing how that may work. He said the pitching is just better at the major league level. It's more accurate. So Shaw probably needed more accurate pitching to succeed, or just higher expectations to push him.

This spring Shaw is hitting .471 with five RBI's. He seems to be driving in runs every time he comes to the plate. He's playing great defense too. At third base and first.

Shaw's creating a pretty interesting predicament for the Sox now because of his performance too. How long do we wait for Sandoval or Hanley to produce before Shaw replaces them?

A healthy Hanley Ramirez will hit well, but his defense can create a huge liability to the Sox, messing with the entire infield if players have to worry before they throw him the ball. Nick Cafardo wrote an interesting article about that Sunday morning.

I see Shaw replacing Sandoval much sooner than Hanley anyway. Sandoval's defense is getting worse, and he isn't exactly hitting the ball well either. Shaw would be an upgrade, but with Sandoval's huge contract, he needs the opportunity to perform first.

But I'm excited about Shaw. I think the guy can hit and play solid defense. He's a timely hitter, and he's a confident guy, which is good for the Red Sox, and I think he's the solution to the Pablo Sandoval problem, which is me wishfully thinking about Hanley succeeding.

I think Shaw can be just as exciting an up and coming player as Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart.