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Saturday, 01 March 2014 16:19

Boston Red Sox Prospect Analysis: Travis Shaw

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Last season in Portland, Travis Shaw had what some may consider a down year, but it was certainly a productive year for him nonetheless. He may not have batted over .300 like he did in Salem in 2012, and he may have batted .221, but there are some positives that can be taken away from his season. The power was still there for Shaw who managed to hit 16 homeruns, only a slight drop from the year before where he hit 19. Not to mention he was getting on base at a high clip at .342, over .100 points higher than his batting average which made up for his low average. When Shaw played in the Arizona Fall League, he thrived. In his 17 games playing against top prospects from all around baseball, Shaw was on fire batting .361 by getting 22 hits 61 at-bats along with a .452 OBP. Not to mention 11 of those 22 hits were for extra bases, and five of those were homeruns. All this lead to him boasting a slugging percentage of .705. Although Shaw's success in the Arizona Fall League, a success in which he credits to his recently developed leg kick, is based upon a small sample size, it is always an encouraging sign for players to perform at a high level. Not only this, but Shaw has past success such as his seasons with Lowell in 2011 and Salem in 2012 making it easy to believe that he could put up strong numbers throughout the 2014 season. As far as this year goes, Shaw could potentially start the year in either AA Portland or AAA Pawtucket. If he were to start the year in Portland, odds are he would only be there for a very short period of time. An example of this in the past would be like Lars Anderson in 2010 who only spent part of April in Portland before being promoted to AAA Pawtucket. The more likely case though would be for Shaw after a strong Spring Training campaign to open up 2014 in Pawtucket. Here, Shaw would not have competition for playing time. His two closest competitors would be Brandon Snyder and Ryan Lavarnway, but realistically the two veteran players are versatile enough so they will not take away too much playing time from him. Plus, if one of them does play first base, Shaw could very easily DH.  On offense expect Shaw to hit 20-25 homeruns this year with around 80 RBI's. He could hit around .270 in Pawtucket realistically with an OBP close to 100 points higher than that which is impressive at any level, especially in AAA. On defense, Shaw is nothing special and might be a tick above average at first. At third however, he is nothing more than an emergency backup as far as quality goes. Not to say that he is at a level of Mauro Gomez, but he is not someone a team wants manning third base every night. On the basepaths, Shaw is far from a Jacoby Ellsbury but is not quite a Bengie Molina either. He did steal seven bases in Portland last season, but it seems highly unlikely that he will become a major stolen base threat ever. To recap, Travis Shaw is to have a strong campaign in AAA Pawtucket this season. With his new leg kick, his success will continue and his power and plate discipline will increase because he said it helps him stay back on the ball. Also, his average will resurrect and be at around where it should be and where it should have been last year. With all this being said, it is very possible that Shaw could climb his way up the prospect list by the end of the season and be near the top ten once again. Follow me on Twitter @CLNS_Tom