NAME: Matt Shaw
SCHOOL: University of Maryland
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5-11/185 pounds
PREVIOUSLY DRAFTED: Never
Matt Shaw wasn’t drafted in 2020 after attending Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts for high school. The school is the oldest educational institution originally founded in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1834.
The co-educational preparatory school houses over 500 students annually. The Brimfield, Massachusetts native was ranked as the No. 500 overall player in the country coming out of high school according to Perfect Game. He’s gone on to become one of the best players in college baseball for the Maryland Terrapins and was recently named B1G Player of the Year.
Shaw is one of the best hitters in a stellar college class and his positional versatility makes him even more appealing for clubs picking in the top half of the first round. He’s looking to become the highest position player drafted out of Maryland as Brandon Lowe and Kevin Smith have gone in the third and fourth rounds respectively over the last decade. Shaw is ranked as the 18th overall draft prospect in the class at MLB Pipeline.
The infielder doesn’t strike out much and he walks often. He makes consistent hard contact and drives the baseball to all fields, possessing good exit velocity numbers as well. Over the past two seasons, the right-handed hitter has clubbed 45 homers while playing shortstop, second base, third base and moonlighting in the outfield at times. Shaw has shown consistent opposite field power while displaying plus run times. He’s a legitimate stolen base threat and he’s very versatile but teams will be drafting the potential of the bat.
At Baseball America, Matt Shaw is ranked as the No. 17 overall player in the 2023 Draft class. The publication has called him a “highly competitive middle infielder” and they note that many scouts have projected his ultimate defensive home at second base. At the dish, the 21-year-old shows a closed off batting stance with a large leg kick that has allowed him to create all fields power. The profile also states that Shaw’s approach can get too aggressive at times with swings and misses on elevated fastballs.
Shaw was excellent in the Cape Cod League last summer playing with the Bourne Braves. In ten games, the infielder hit .333/.421/.485 with just a 5% strikeout rate. In 33 at bats, he pumped out 11 hits. The B1G Player of the Year played for the Worcester Bravehearts in 2020 and 2021 in the Futures League as well where he smacked eight homers in 14 games.
As a junior at Maryland, Shaw has hit .355/.463/.731 with 23 homers. He has produced a 13% strikeout rate with a 15% walk rate. During 60 games in 2022, the infielder hit .290/.381/.604 with a .986 OPS. He smashed 22 homers while sporting a 12% walk rate as a sophomore. In his freshman season back in 2021, the Terp hit .332/.408/.543 with seven homers in 45 games.
Why Would The White Sox Draft Matt Shaw?
The White Sox would draft Matt Shaw as a versatile offensive performer who should stay on the dirt long-term. He should also move through the system quickly which shouldn’t be a prerequisite but is definitely a factor. He is an up-the-middle college hitter with above-average power and wood bat success. Players like this are valuable.
The franchise hasn’t started a regular second baseman who has accumulated a two WAR in a season since Tadahito Iguchi accomplished the feat in 2006. The position has been a landfill for the organization. Teams don’t typically draft for need in regards to the current status of the big league club but organizations can’t go wrong consistently selecting middle infielders with offensive prowess.
As a slot value team, Matt Shaw also fits in financially with the No. 15 overall pick. The pick would allow the front office to make over-slot gambles later and throughout the draft as well. Mike Shirley is making his fourth first round selection as scouting director in Chicago and he’s heavily focused on elite upside to this point. He’s hit every demographic other than college position player and with a deep group this year, that could definitely change in 2023.
Shaw would immediately become one of the best prospects in the White Sox’s farm system. He could move very quickly and turn up in Chicago as early as 2025 as the potential long-term answer at second base that the franchise has been searching for over the course of the last decade.
Mock Draft Outcomes
In the first mock draft from Keith Law at The Athletic, the veteran evaluator sent Matt Shaw to the Chicago Cubs at #13 overall. Law added that the 21-year-old is one of the “best pure hitters with metrics to match” in the class. In the first attempt from Jonathan Mayo at MLB Pipeline, the draft analyst mocked Matt Shaw to the Boston Red Sox at #14 overall. Mayo noted that the infielder has smacked 45 homers over the last two years while focusing on his Cape League success as well.
As for Mayo’s counterpart at MLB.com, Jim Callis has released his initial projection as well. Callis projected Shaw to the San Francisco Giants at $16 overall and even made an interesting comparison to Ian Happ. The staff at Baseball America recently published a mock draft based on what they’d do as well and JJ Cooper projected Shaw to the Red Sox at #14 overall. However, Carlos Collazo projected Shaw to the Milwaukee Brewers at #18 overall in Mock Draft 2.0 and noted that he could end up closer to #10 overall. Kiley McDaniel’s initial projection at ESPN sends Matt Shaw to the Miami Marlins with the 10th pick.