Entering last off-season third base was a position of need for the Milwaukee Brewers. After missing out on the Justin Turner sweepstakes, they elected to sign a familiar player in Travis Shaw.
After posting two 30+ home run season in 2017 and 2018, Shaw struggled in 2019 and eventually moved on to sign with the Toronto Blue Jays. Fortunately, David Stearns saw enough in his statistics after leaving the ballclub and decided to take a flier on him. In spring training Shaw shined and not only earned a 40 man roster spot but also the role as the everyday third basemen.
To begin the 2021 regular season, Shaw has been off to a fantastic start and is finding success early on in games. Of his 15 RBIs, 13 of them have came in the first through third innings and all three of his home runs have been hit in those innings.
Oddly enough, this is rather consistent with Shaw’s career trends. As a career .273 hitter with a .900 OPS in the first through third innings, these number decrease to .237 and .733 in innings four through six and .216 and .674 in innings seven through nine.
Of his 108 career home runs, Shaw has hit 49 long balls in the first through third innings. Additionally of his 340 career RBIs, 153 of them have came in these innings as well.
You never know in which inning a baseball game can be won or lost, and it is evident this season that Shaw is doing damage early. With an elite pitching staff, this is a huge advantage for this often results in the Brewers playing with a lead.
Hopefully Shaw can continue to contribute as well as he has to begin this season. If he does, he may be the biggest steal in free agency this last off-season.
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