As we get deeper into Spring Training and closer to Opening Day in Cleveland, the reoccurring question within the Red Sox organization is "Where will Travis Shaw start the season?" Floating in the same boat as Mookie Betts was last year, Travis Shaw has not disappointed anyone. Shaw is 12-23 (.522) with 2 homers and 9 RBI, to go along with an OPS of 1.430.
However, it seems as though people have it all wrong with who Shaw is competing with. Back in January, it was very likely that the battle of the Spring would be HanRam vs. Shaw at first base. But Hanley has looked really sharp at the plate (5-15 with 1 homer and 2 RBI in 6 games). But Hanley also hasn't done too bad at first either, having not made an error as of today.
So if it isn't Hanley, who is Shaw competing with?
Starting with the obvious, Shaw is also a third baseman, making him a prime candidate to play over Pablo Sandoval if he cannot perform up to par this season. At the moment, Panda is 4-19 (.210) with 1 homer and 2 RBI, so the script is writing itself and Shaw is the favorite to play the lead... Hopefully. Shaw has also played a flawless third base, making no errors at the hot corner. Panda has already made 3, for a whopping fielding percentage of .750.
Unfortunately, salary most likely equals playing time.
Rumor has it, though, that Shaw has been seen taking fly balls in left, trying to get a feel for the position, making him a likely substitute for Rusney Castillo, who many people have already given up on.
Rusney, however, has had a solid spring. 6-19 (.316) with an RBI. But the point is, he's making good contact and driving the ball to the gaps with authority. But Castillo had a solid spring last year. Usually, that results in him getting hurt and starting the year in AAA.
With the way Travis Shaw played last season, and how it's translating to this spring, anything the Sox do to get his bat in the lineup, I'm okay with it. He's willing to put in the work to improve anywhere the Sox throw him, which us fans of Boston sports teams feast on and absolutely adore.