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Grading Travis Shaw’s 2018 season

How did Milwaukee Brewers third baseman/second baseman Travis Shaw do in 2018? He actually posted a higher WAR in 2018 than 2017, but it really didn’t seem like he had a ‘better’ year. Find out why…

Travis Shaw was expected to play everyday at the hot corner, hit in the middle of the order, and produce runs for the Milwaukee Brewers. He played everyday, but it wasn’t always at the hot corner, and his run production was down from 2017. What gives?

Regular Season: B-

It’s hard to grade Shaw lower than a B- for his regular season effort. He was always in the lineup, and had a solid season at the plate, so why did his season feel disappointing?

Shaw managed a .241/.345/.480 slash line in 152 games played. He drove in 86 runs, and scored 73 times. He clubbed 32 homers, and swiped five bases in seven attempts. Other than his home run total, which increased by one, every number that Shaw produced in 2018 was lower than 2017.

The good news is that his walk rate was up over 5% over 2017, and his strikeout rate was below 20% for the first time in his Major League career. Where Shaw struggled was on balls in play. His BABIP was only .242 for the entire 2018 season. That’s over 40 points below his career average, and it impacted his overall production.

In the field, Shaw played almost everyday at third base until Mike Moustakas showed up. He transitioned over to second base, and played 268 innings there. Shaw only committed one error, and never really looked lost when learning second base for the first time at baseball’s highest level.

Post season: C

Shaw was perfectly fine in the post season…when he was able to play. Shaw posted a .209/.303/.296 slash line against left-handers in 2018, and was riding the bench whenever the Milwaukee Brewers faced a tough lefty in the post season. He played in all 10 games, but only started in seven.

Shaw posted a .267/.353/.500 slash line in 34 plate appearances in the post season. He blasted one homer, but only scored twice, and drove in a pair. Run production was an issue for everyone on the Milwaukee Brewers, but Shaw really struggled when hitting with runners on-base in the post season. He came to the plate with runners on 18 times, and managed only a .411 OPS. Only Jesus Aguilar came in lower among Milwaukee Brewers regulars.

It’s a super-small sample size, but there’s no hiding the fact that the middle of the Milwaukee Brewers order couldn’t figure out Los Angeles Dodgers pitching.

Next: How does Lorenzo Cain’s 2018 season grade out?

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Shaw is a key cog in the Milwaukee Brewers lineup, a versatile defender, and, by all accounts, a solid teammate. He’s in his first year of arbitration, but could get an extension this off season. He’s also a solid candidate for a bounce back season given his abnormally low batting average on balls in play. Shaw had a perfectly good season, but he should’ve found a few more RBIs with several guys capable of getting on-base ahead of him. He should recover next year, and remind us all why he truly is the Mayor of Ding-Dong City.

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