Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval are penciled in to play first and third base, respectively, for the Boston Red Sox on Opening Day. Their primary backup, super utility man Brock Holt, was the team’s lone All-Star representative last summer.
So as things are currently constituted, it could be hard to find playing time for Travis Shaw, which would be a shame considering the promise the 25-year-old showed at the plate in the second half of 2015.
In 65 games, Shaw hit 13 home runs and, often, hit them in bunches. As MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith points out, those numbers project to 32 homers over the course of a full, 162-game season. Shaw doesn’t think he would hit quite that many, but he certainly thinks with regular playing time he can consistently send balls over the fence.
“I don’t consider myself a Chris Davis-like power hitter,” Shaw told MassLive.com. “That’s not the type of hitter I am. I try to stay left-center field as much as I can because that just keeps me on as many pitches as I can. I would say I’m more of a doubles-hitter. But honestly, home run-wise, next couple years — with a full season obviously if I got to play every day — realistically I would think at least 20 to 25. I feel my swing is good enough to where I’ll be able to pop 20 to 25 out.
“If you’re in the 20s, you’re considered a power-hitter nowadays. And I guess with my home run totals, you would consider me a power hitter. In the minor leagues, I hit pretty much hit 20 every year.”
Shaw played third base in the minors and has been working on playing left field as well. His projected prowess at the plate is well-documented. So despite the apparent logjam in front of him, that kind of potential tends to play its way into the lineup.
Power hitter or not, that type of production certainly would be a welcome boost to the lower third of Boston’s batting order.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images
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