Twitter has been abuzz this spring. Well, Twitter is abuzz every spring. But, specifically it has been abuzz with the exploits of Travis Shaw. He’s been performing very well this year, following a very strong finish to last season. This has led some people to suggest he should be the starting third baseman when the season starts.
There are several issues with this idea. The first is that the Sox already have a starting third baseman. Shaw’s having a nice little run, but let’s not get crazy here.
The second is that this it counting on Shaw performing the same this season as he has last September and this spring. If Phil Plantier and Jackie Bradley Jr have shown us anything, it’s that statistics in September and March mean very little. I can’t imagine benching someone like Panda because of spring stats.
The bigger question I keep having is, what happened to Brock Holt? Isn’t he supposed to be the Red Sox super-substitute? I admit I pay very little attention to Spring Training games. So, I may have missed some small details. But, he’s still on the Red Sox, right? He didn’t get a starting job, did he? Did the Sox finally dump Pedroia? I didn’t think so. So why isn’t he being touted as the replacement for Panda? Isn’t he the one who’s actually done something during the regular season?
Which brings along another more realistic question. Assuming Travis Shaw is actually a viable option…where does he get playing time? How do they find at-bats for Brock Holt and Travis Shaw? Not to mention, the Sox still have Chris Young…right?
So how is this all going to work? John Farrell has already mentioned that he expected Brock Holt to get something like 400 at-bats. I had no idea where he was going to get those to begin with. Now people want Travis Shaw to get significant playing time too? And, I’m assuming not much of that playing time for either of them will come in the outfield. Barring, catastrophe, I’m hoping Young will be more than adequate to cover the few games one of the BBC needs to sit.
So, what’s the plan? Are people expecting both Hanley and Panda to be so epically bad that Holt is your regular first baseman, while Shaw takes over third? Not only will that not happen, I certainly wouldn’t want it to. I’m not foolish enough to actively campaign for the Red Sox to make that switch.
So, are both guys there just to give Hanley and Panda a rest? I could see a situation where each of them takes a day off a week, or so. So, that's one game a week each for Holt and Shaw. That's not exactly 400 at-bats. Frankly, it wasn't 400 at-bats for Holt before people added Shaw to the mix.
Which brings me back to my original question. Where is Brock Holt going to find playing time?
Not to mention Travis Shaw.