First baseman made strong impression on Farrell, especially vs. lefties
By Andrew Simon
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Red Sox included Travis Shaw in their first round of Spring Training roster moves on Wednesday morning, but manager John Farrell has seen significant progress from the young first baseman.
Shaw and infielder Sean Coyle were optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket, while right-handers Miguel Celestino, Keith Couch and Noe Ramirez, and first baseman/outfielder Bryan LaHair were reassigned to Minor League camp. While with the big leaguers, Shaw impressed Farrell by looking much more comfortable than he did in 2014.
"I think he's aware of who he is as a player more readily and he was more aggressive in certain situations, especially against some left-handed pitching," Farrell said. "He feels more confident as a player and he swung the bat very well. Defensively, for a guy his size, he moves well, he's got soft hands, he's a very good defender, but we're seeing the bat really start to make some strides."
Shaw, the son of longtime big league closer Jeff Shaw, ended last season as the organization's No. 17 prospect after hitting .278/.353/.473 with 21 home runs and 78 RBIs between Double-A Portland and Pawtucket. In nine Grapefruit League games, he went 7-for-20 with two doubles, a homer and three RBIs.
Shaw, who turns 25 next month, has averaged more than 18 homers per season over the past three years in the Minors, and Farrell believes he has "enough" power to stick at first.
"I think, at times, players might look at themselves and think, 'Well, I'm a cleanup hitter, and I've got to hit for more power,' and that might lead them to try to pull the ball more," Farrell said. "When Travis is at his best, it was like the game [last Wednesday against the Yankees], he hits a ball deep into left-center field, he uses the whole field gap to gap. He does have the ability to pull the baseball, but he showed very well in Spring Training here."
Coyle was the Sox's No. 12 prospect last season, when he hit .295/.371/.512 with 16 homers, 61 RBIs and 13 steals for Portland. The second baseman played in eight Grapefruit League games, going 2-for-7 with a double, an RBI and three walks.
The cuts leave Boston with 51 players in big league camp, including 13 non-roster invitees.
Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.