The first eight games of the 2023 season were not particularly kind to Maryland infielder Matt Shaw. Through 34 plate appearances, the 2022 Cape Cod Player of the Year was batting just .235 with a 29% K-rate, ever-tinkering with his pre-swing setup. Since then, Shaw has torn the cover off the ball to the tune of a .518/.666/1.143 slash with nine homers and 26 RBI over his last 18 games. On the season, Shaw’s slash line sits at .349/.466/.736 with ten homers and 30 RBI. He’s brought his strikeout rate down to 14.5%.
Shaw entered the season as one of the most vaunted hitters in the entire country after posting an obscene .360/.432/.574 slash this summer on the Cape with Bourne. Those numbers look particularly impressive when you consider how cold and miserable the weather was for the nation’s most famous wood bat league.
Shaw almost unanimously was considered a first round bat by most evaluators this spring and he’s done very little to dissuade that notion. His swing decisions and batted-ball data still reflect that of a polished infield slugger, and his performance with a wood bat this summer should lend well toward team’s trust in his offensive profile carrying over into professional ball. At the time of publish, Shaw is rocking an 83% contact percentage and his best exit velocity left the bat north of 109 mph. In the sample I was provided, Shaw ranks inside the top ten in the country for average exit velocity, right behind Ole Miss thumper Kemp Alderman.
Wow. Matt Shaw brings Maryland all the way back from a 3-run deficit with a grand slam. Kid has been crushing the baseball lately. His 6th home run in the last 11 days. pic.twitter.com/419aJ1tVWC
— Joe Doyle (@JoeDoyleMiLB) March 31, 2023
Shaw still has a bit to prove this season in terms of making consistent contact against higher velocity pitching, but his profile points to that of a polished infielder who should end up at second base or potentially left field if a more premium defender unseats him off the dirt.
With Big 10 conference play officially underway, Shaw should have more opportunities to consistently see better pitching than what’s seen to date. Rutgers and Ohio State are on the calendar over the next two weekends giving Shaw a chance to showcase his offensive tools against talented arms such as Drew Conover and Isaiah Coupet.
To this point, most scouts still see Shaw going somewhere in the back-half of the first round. A shortstop now, most scouts think he’ll shift off the position as soon as he gets to pro ball placing more pressure on the bat. For Shaw, that shouldn’t be an issue.
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