Background

David Stearns’ managerial magic has been showing all season with the rewards of a bevy of trades from the season before, leaving the team with their several well-known players being replaced by numerous top prospects. One of the trades last season among the blockbusters that included the departure of Carlos Gomez, Jean Segura, and Khris Davis, was the decision to move Tyler Thornburg to the Boston Red Sox.

Thornburg, a very good reliever for the Brewers was traded to a contender that needed him, in exchange for three players including short-lived Major Leaguer, Travis Shaw. As this season reaches its midway point, this lesser known trade has become one of Stearns’ defining decisions in bringing in a cornerstone third-basemen for the Milwaukee Brewers. While Thornburg is still yet to pitch an inning for the Red Sox because of an injury, Shaw has become one of the most important players of the Brewers overhauled roster.

Performance

Over the last few games, Travis Shaw has shown time and time again why he should be considered for this year’s National League All-Star team. Batting .294 with 17 Home Runs, including three in his past three games as of June 30, Shaw has put on a show for Brewers fans. “The Mayor of Ding Dong City” came to the team without a clear starting role, but he has now established in himself as the Brewers third basemen and maybe the most reliable and effective hitter while Ryan Braun was on the DL.

Shaw’s stats resemble other top NL 3B including Nolan Arenado, who he currently ties in wOBA. His home run total is already more than he had the previous year and with half as many games played. The left-handed hitter has been a major source of consistency for the Brewers down the road. He also continues to show improvement as his strikeout to hit ratio continues to decrease, and his power surges.

Looking On

With the Brewers holding his contract until at least 2021, Stearns has found another face of a rebuilding team that can continue to grow while maintaining a realistic payroll. Stearns continues to target players that the Brewers can control and develop so that several years down the road, there will be pieces for a serious title run. His approach can be read about further in this earlier article. As it stands right now, it seems the Brewers are much closer to this plan than expected as they continue to hold their own atop the NL Central in part because of a potential All-Star in Travis Shaw.

(NL Central Standings Per ESPN.com)

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