“For the last eight years, I’ve been blessed to live out my childhood dreams of playing Major League Baseball,” Shaw wrote. “But today, that dream comes to an end! 12 years ago, being a 9th-round pick, I would never have imagined what this game provided me. The memories will last a lifetime. To everyone that made an impact on my career (the list is endlessly long), I will forever be indebted to you! As this chapter closes, the only two words that come to mind is THANK YOU!”
As Shaw mentioned, he entered the professional ranks as a ninth-round pick in 2011. Selected by the Red Sox out of Kent State, he signed for $110K. Within a couple seasons, he began to appear at the back half of Baseball America’s top 30 prospects in the Boston system. He hit well in the minors and debuted at age 25 in May 2015. He hit the ground running over 65 games as a rookie, putting together a .270/.327/.487 line with 13 home runs.
That earned Shaw an extended look on Boston’s 2016 squad. Pablo Sandoval missed most of that season with shoulder surgery, freeing up the hot corner for Shaw. He didn’t quite maintain his rookie form, posting a .242/.306/.421 line through 530 plate appearances. The following winter, the Sox dealt Shaw to Milwaukee for reliever Tyler Thornburg.
The move panned out for the Brew Crew, who immediately installed Shaw as their primary third baseman. He took well to Milwaukee’s favorable hitting environment, topping 30 home runs in each of his first two seasons. He combined for 63 longballs between 2017-18, putting together a cumulative .258/.347/.498 line with a very strong 11.6% walk percentage. Shaw played in just over half the team’s games in 2019 but saw his production fall to a .157/.281/.270 mark.
From that point forward, Shaw settled in as a depth corner infielder and bench bat. He played the shortened 2020 season with the Blue Jays before returning to Milwaukee for the start of 2021. After struggling in his second stint with the Brewers, he landed back in Boston via release waivers. Shaw found a brief glimpse of peak form in 28 games for the Sox late in the ’21 campaign. He re-signed on a minor league deal during the lockout and made the Opening Day roster. Shaw played in seven games early last season but didn’t reach base in 19 plate appearances. After going unclaimed on waivers, he hit free agency last May and doesn’t plan to seek out other opportunities.
Shaw played in 733 major league games. He tallied just under 2700 plate appearances and hit .237/.319/.437 with 114 homers, 127 doubles, 366 runs batted in and 310 runs scored. Shaw had the aforementioned two 30-homer campaigns and twice eclipsed 30 doubles. His career offensive production checked in right around league average, as measured by wRC+. Both FanGraphs and Baseball Reference valued Shaw’s career around eight wins above replacement, with much of that value concentrated in his strong first two seasons in Milwaukee. MLBTR congratulates Shaw on a fine playing career and wishes him the best in retirement.