First of all, Happy Birthday Travis Shaw. The Ohio native turned 31 on Friday, April 16th. Here’s hoping to 10 more seasons as a Brewer! If you haven’t yet, head over to a social media and send him a nice message or good vibes. Positivity goes a long way. Now onto the article.
Happy birthday, Travis Shaw!
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) April 16, 2021
At the beginning of 2021, one major offseason discussion is who would play the corner infielders for the Milwaukee Brewers. It turns out, they only needed to sign one of the two positions and were able to solve those problems.
Technically there were two signings, but one of them wasn’t a first baseman. Kolten Wong was signed to be their everyday second baseman, which moved Keston Hiura to first. There were plenty of third baseman left, even after the Brewers missed out on Justin Turner. Sources say Milwaukee’s offer was about the same as the Los Angeles Dodgers, but you can’t really blame Turner for returning to LA. He played there his whole career.
And then, on February 23rd, 2021, Travis Shaw was signed to a minor league deal. His contract was for $1.5MM, with just as much in available incentives.
Shaw’s Brew Crew History
Shaw’s return to the team was exciting to say the least. After the Milwaukee received Shaw and prospects, including Mauricio Dubón, from the Boston Red Sox for Tyler Thornburg, the Mayor of Ding Dong City quickly became a team favorite.
While thriving in 2017 and 2018, Shaw suffered an early wrist injury in 2019 and never really got out of his slump. He was competing for playing time with Mike Moustakas and Keston Hiura, who was just up from the minors. He ended 2019 with a .157 batting average and only seven home runs. In 2017 he had 31 home runs, and in 2018 he had 32. It was quite a drop off.
In 2020, Shaw signed a contract with the Toronto Blue Rays for one year and $4MM. Over the shortened season, he played in 50 games. He had a .239 average, six home runs and a 717 OPS. It was obvious he wanted to stay in Milwaukee, but a year away seemed to be the best case scenario for him.
Shaw ended his time in Arizona with 42 at-bats. He left with a .190 batting average, two double, two home runs and the starting third baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers.
In Shaw’s contract, there was a date of March 25th for the team to tell him if he was going to be on the Opening Day roster. This would let him have a chance to sign with another team if the Brewers did plan on starting him in the majors. Travis ended up being the first player possibly on the bubble to be told he made the team. It appears Milwaukee made the correct choice to keep him.
First Two Weeks
We are just over two weeks into the 2021 regular season, and Shaw is doing great. As of March 15th, he has a .289 batting average, 12 RBIs, three home runs, one double and 11 hits over 38 at-bats. His OPS is at .910 and has a .553 slugging percentage.
Travis decided to start hitting right away. On Opening Day, he went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and three RBIs. He scored half the runs for Milwaukee’s 6-5 extra innings win over the Minnesota Twins. Five days later on April 6th, he hit a three-run home run against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Brewers won 4-0 for their first game against the division rivals. After one hit over five appearances on April 10th, Shaw came up huge again the very next day. He had another three-run home run against the Cardinals, and helped the Brewers win 9-5. In the April 14th afternoon game against the Chicago Cubs, Shaw hit another home run. This time it was for two runs, and helped bring a 7-0 victory in the rubber match against the baby bears.
He is everything you want in a power hitter third basemen right now.
It’s hard to jump ahead or assume for the rest of the season. But with this pace, Shaw should be above his career .244 average and will be a solid number four or five hitter for the Brewers all year. Before the season, Shaw was expected to possibly split time with Orlando Arcia and Daniel Robertson. With Arcia now traded and the infield injuries and shake-ups, Shaw is an everyday starter right now.
His bat is added a three-run home run every few days, and his defense this year has been off the chart. He is snagging balls and making plays. There is nothing but love for Arcia and Robertson, but Shaw’s defense has been a level above them already.
So let’s raise a glass for Shaw on his birthday, and raise another for his amazing start with the Brewers. That’s right, double-fisting drinks for Travis Shaw’s return to the Milwaukee Brewers.