Boston Red Sox 25 in 25: Travis Shaw
The BoSox Injection staff’s preview of the Boston Red Sox 25-man roster continues with a look at rookie infielder Travis Shaw
2015 Stats: 65 games, .274/.331/.491, 13 HR, 36 RBI, 1.1 WAR
Rookie infielder Travis Shaw had a roller coaster season with the Boston Red Sox after making his MLB debut on May 8. Throughout 2015, the Sox recalled Shaw five different times and he became the their go-to Minor Leaguer when a position in the infield needed to be filled. Finally, on August 1, Shaw was called up to the big leagues for the final time and spent the rest of the season in Boston.
During his first two stints in the Majors, Shaw did not make much of an impact. However, from July to October, he definitely made his presence known offensively. In July, August and September, he batted well over .300 while in a Red Sox uniform and collected all of his 13 homers and 36 RBI in those three months. Shaw proved that a 32nd round draft pick who struggled in Double- and Triple-A over the past few years can actually be a successful ballplayer in the Major Leagues.
Additionally, Shaw demonstrated his versatility by playing at both first and third base – two positions he held quite regularly in the Minors – as well as playing one game in left field. Over 55 games at first base, he only made three errors and accumulated a .993 fielding percentage at that position. He only spent eight games at third, but for someone who is said to have slightly below-average fielding skills at that position, he did quite well. As Shaw gains more Major League experience, it is likely that he will see more playing time in both of the corner infield positions.
This offseason, Shaw went to Puerto Rico to play winter ball and work on his defense at third base. However, he went down early with a shoulder impingement injury. Thankfully, it is expected that he should be fully recovered in a couple of weeks and completely healthy for spring training.
So, what does 2016 have in store of Shaw? Unfortunately, a starting fielding position is not in the cards for him this upcoming season. Both first and third base are already taken by other players. It has been reported that Hanley Ramirez is going to be the Sox first baseman in 2016 and it is expected that Pablo Sandoval will continue to play at third. However, if either of these players should incur an injury or fail to perform in 2016, Shaw will be there to fill in. And, because of both of their prior histories with injuries and performance, this could very well happen.
Next: Red Sox Sign Outfielder Brennan Boesch to Minor League Deal
With Hanley, his health is still questionable after dealing with multiple shoulder injuries in 2015 and his ability to effectively play any fielding position has not been shown. When it comes to Sandoval, his production has declined and he posted the worst numbers of his career in 2015. So, there is definitely a chance that Shaw could see some time at either of these positions in 2016.
Dave Dombrowski, President of Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox, told the media that if Shaw continues to perform well in 2016, there will be room on the roster for him. Right now, it seems as though he will be one of the BoSox backup infielders. However, a lot can happen between now and Opening Day. Time will only tell what Shaw’s role with the Red Sox will be during the 2016 season.