Buy Low Candidate: Is Now The Time To Capitalize On Travis Shaw’s Slow Start?

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It’s been a horrendous start for Travis Shaw, who entered play on Sunday hitting .188 with 1 HR, 5 RBI and 4 R over 79 PA.  It’s easy to be highly disappointed and make a dramatic move, but at the end of the day that’s a decision you will likely come to regret.

Just look at some of the underlying numbers that make you think that a rebound should be coming:

  • Hard% – 45.5%
  • SwStr% – 12.8%
  • O-Swing% – 26.7%

So he’s staying inside the strike zone and is hitting the ball incredibly hard.  Yet his BABIP is fairly pedestrian (.279) and he’s struggled with strikeouts (31.6%).  Opposing pitchers have been throwing him more breaking balls in the early going (31.52%, up from 25.59% in ’18), though does a 17.31% Whiff% against the pitch justify this gaudy of a strikeout rate?

More important is the fact that Shaw owns a .105 AVG against fourseam fastball thus far this season.  No matter what that would be viewed as an unbelievable number, but it’s even more magnified when you consider his .305 AVG and .616 SLG that he posted against the pitch a year ago.

Obviously Shaw is going to start getting more hits against fastballs, and with how hard he’s hitting it and his ability to stay within the strike zone the overall results should be strong.  Let’s not forget that he’s posted back-to-back 30+ HR seasons and while the average may be in the .250ish range a strong walk rate will allow him to post a solid OBP (even as he’s struggled with a .291 OBP).

In other words while it would be easy to make a knee jerk reaction and lose hope that’s a decision you don’t want to make.  Stay patient and ultimately reap the rewards. If you don’t own him, capitalize on the frustrated owner and grab him before it’s too late.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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