Background Travis Shaw comes from a baseball family. His dad Jeff was a former All-Star closer who played for six Major League clubs.
Shaw went to school at Washington High School in Washington Court House, Ohio. He remained in the state to play baseball for the Golden Flashes at Kent State University.
The Red Sox selected Shaw in the ninth round of the 2011 Draft. The team also chose him in the 32nd round of the 2008 Draft, but at that time, he did not sign.
The left-handed-hitting, right-handed-throwing Shaw is 6-foot-4, 225 pounds. He had played third base early in his career, but he has since moved exclusively to first base.
Shaw has a composite batting average of .261 in parts of four seasons in the Red Sox's Minor League system. In 2014, he belted 21 home runs playing for Double-A Portland (11) and Triple-A Pawtucket (10). It was the most in the team's Minor League system.
Shaw made his big league debut May 8 against the Toronto Blue Jays. He went hitless in two at-bats. Since that game, Shaw's bat has come to life and he's added a bit of a spark to Boston's lineup.
There has never been the type of prospect buzz around Shaw that we find with many other prospects. In a very rich and deep farm system, he ranked 28th among the Top 30 Red Sox prospects before graduating from the list.
I first scouted Shaw when he played for the Surprise Saguaros in the 2013 Arizona Fall League. At that time, he had recently implemented new hitting techniques, including a leg kick as a timing mechanism. Shaw was a major offensive force, hitting .361 in 61 at-bats. He hit five home runs and drove in 19 runs in his 17 games played.
Shaw has upside as a power hitter. His power tool is enticing and promising in the American League East, where he can aim for the right-field fences that seem tailor made for his stroke.
Shaw has a history of plate discipline, a discriminatory eye and patience. He lets pitches travel deep in the zone and doesn't become overly aggressive at the plate. Shaw has always accepted a walk as a positive part of his offensive game.
Recognizing pitches well, Shaw is a good contact hitter, putting the ball in play with solid hitting mechanics. While his power is generated primarily to his pull side, he has the ability to use the entire field and hit the gaps with a very measured swing.
Clearly, any talk about Shaw is related to his offense. An average defender, he can make all the routine plays and will surprise upon occasion by making a tough play look relatively easy. Shaw's good baseball intelligence, his quick reaction time and solid instincts work in his favor on defense. That said, at best, he remains an average defender, and his future remains with a bat in his hand.
Shaw has the ability to add energy to Boston's lineup. Only 25, he has likely reached his physical maturation. Shaw has yet to achieve his potential as a power hitter or hitter for average, so he should continue to show steady improvement and growth against quality pitchers.
Shaw is slow afoot. In fact, he may clog some bases now and again.
I find this interesting
Shaw was around baseball growing up, shagging flies in big league outfields and serving as a batboy when his dad played for the Dodgers.
But on the day Shaw was selected in the Draft, he was alone when he heard the news. He was driving back from a tournament game and took the call in his car.
The future for Shaw
Shaw's intelligence, family background, work ethic and ability to hit for power all bode well for his future. But everything will depend upon his bat. Frankly, I believe in his ability.
Shaw in a word
Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.