Fantasy Baseball: Travis Shaw Gets a Boost in Value With a Move to the Milwaukee Brewers
The Boston Red Sox were very busy at the Winter Meetings on Tuesday. Most of the hoopla surrounded the blockbuster deal involving Chris Sale, Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and others, but the organization made two other moves.
While it won’t grab as many headlines as the Sale deal, it’s rather significant because not only does it mean is Boston comfortable giving Pablo Sandoval a shot at playing third base every day, but Shaw also receives a nice boost in fantasy baseball value with his new organization.
Potential owners have to anticipate more homers from the left-handed hitter, because, well, he needs to live up to his “Mayor of Ding Dong City” nickname.
Here are two big reasons why Shaw packing his bags for Wisconsin could be a big win for fantasy purposes.
More Consistent Playing Time
It’s not as if he’d be riding the pine in Beantown, but there wasn’t as much of a clear path to consistent playing time for Shaw with the Red Sox.
He beat out Sandoval and others last spring to be the Opening Day third baseman and strengthened his grip on the job by hitting .292/.358/.508 with 7 home runs and 35 RBI's through the end of May. However, Shaw couldn't keep that production going.
He slumped to just a .207/.270/.361 line with 9 homers and 36 RBI's over the last 4 months, which led to manager John Farrell seeking out other options at the hot corner down the stretch.
Shaw likely would’ve had a legitimate shot at regaining the starting job this spring, but he would’ve had to go up against a slimmed down Sandoval. At least, he is slimmed down for now.
In Milwaukee, Jonathan Villar will shift from third base over to second base, and Roster Resource currently has Shaw filling out the sixth spot in the lineup. With hitters like Villar, Ryan Braun and KBO MVP Eric Thames projected to be in front of him, it's not like there won't be RBI opportunities to cash in on.
Favorable Park Adjustment
Everyone always talks about the benefits of the Green Monster at Fenway Park, but left-handed hitters are at a disadvantage there (which makes David Ortiz's career that much more impressive).
Through his two years in Boston, Shaw actually hit much better at home (.847 OPS) than he did on the road (.656). He’s never played at Miller Park, though, which is much kinder to lefties than Fenway could ever be.
Steve Gardner of USA Today cites Baseball HQ when noting that Miller Park is MLB's most favorable stadium for left-handed power hitters (49% above average). On the other hand, Fenway was the third-worst in this department (-25%).
There was hope that 2016 would be a breakout campaign for Shaw. It could’ve been much better than the .242/.306/.421 he posted in 480 at-bats, but there are still positives to be taken from it.
For instance, his 16 homers ranked within the top 20 of qualified third baseman, his 34 doubles landed in the top 10 and the 71 RBI's he collected were tied for 15th-best. And don't forget, he basically did this off the strength of just two good months of play.
The Brewers know their home park is fun for left-handed power hitters. So, Milwaukee general manager David Stearns took advantage of the reliever market and grabbed a young, cheap and team-controlled player with 20- or 30-homer potential.
This probably goes down as an underrated move at the moment, but it's one that should catch the attention of many fantasy baseball players ahead of 2017 and beyond.