1. Travis Shaw, corner infielder
When John Farrell surprised many by naming Shaw the starting third baseman over the struggling Pablo Sandoval, the focus was squarely on Shaw’s ability to field the position. After three errorless games at third base and five last season, Shaw has showed he is capable of making the routine plays. On Saturday, Shaw showed he is capable of making the highlight reel play. On a slow hopper to his left, Shaw grabbed the ball and fired to first all in one motion to nip the speedy Kevin Pillar (25 steals last season) at first base.
He doesn’t just get this spot in the ranking for that one play (though it certainly didn’t hurt). Shaw’s ability to hit is also crucial to his effectiveness. While he hasn’t gone deep yet, in 19 plate appearances starting all five games (including one at first base) he has rapped two doubles while slashing a healthy .313/.421/.438 on the young season. The ability to move between the corners of the diamond increases his value, allowing Farrell the flexibility to give Ortiz a day off, Hanley Ramirez a rest from the field, and find at-bats for Sandoval, without losing offensive firepower.
So far, Shaw has performed how the coaches drew things up in Spring Training. It is only one week, but it is very encouraging that he could be a solid player in the league right away.
Next: 2. Brock Holt's big grand slam