Red Sox bench will be critical to their success this season

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Aug 26, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Boston Red Sox first baseman Travis Shaw (47) celebrates with shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) after hitting a two run home run during the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at U.S Cellular Field. The Boston Red Sox defeated the Chicago White Sox 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports /

Travis Shaw

As referenced above, Shaw is hoping to backup Ramirez at first.  He started 55 games at the position for the Red Sox last season and performed well enough for the organization to consider trading Ramirez this offseason in order to hand Shaw the job.  Overall, he appeared in 65 games in 2015 and batted .274 with 13 HRs and 36 RBIs.  Spread over a 162-game season, those numbers suggest Shaw has 30-HR power potential, which is something the Red Sox have not received consistently from someone not named David Ortiz in quite some time.  That is why the Red Sox are going to do their best to get Shaw in the lineup whenever they can.

The problem for Shaw, and the reason he is third on this list, is the lack of opportunity.  If Ramirez picks up first quickly and hits the way he did in April of last season, or even anything remotely close to that, Shaw will struggle for playing time.  While he played the occasional third last season, appearing eight times there, Holt is going to be the primary backup at that position.  Therefore, other than a Ramirez injury, trade or release, Shaw is going to be given the occasional spot start and nothing more.  The most likeliest of scenarios being when Ortiz sits, Ramirez will DH and Shaw will be inserted at first.

Regardless, Shaw needs to be ready and the Red Sox are lucky to have his bat on the bench.  To be able to fall back on someone like him, with his professionalism, character and power is huge for John Farrell, especially when you consider the fact that Ramirez’s track record indicates he will have at least one extended stay on the disabled list this season.

Next: Ryan Hanigan