1st Round Pick: Matt Shaw SS (University of Maryland)
We’ve covered Matt Shaw pretty extensively at Cubbies Crib and here are some of the thoughts we’ve had in the last couple of weeks with a few sprinkles of new information.
Matt Shaw is an interesting player. He can hit for contact and he can hit for power, so it’s the bat that will likely make him a first-round pick. He’s hit over 50 home runs while in college with 46 of those coming in his sophomore and junior seasons. This year he walked more often (43) than he struck out (42) and he showed some speed and baserunning prowess by stealing 18-19 bases he attempted.
MLB.com points out in their scouting report that he’s turned a lot of heads due to his ability to hit with a wooden bat as well. While Kyle Teel struggled a little bit in the Cape Cod League, Shaw mashed. He put together a .360/.432/.574 slash line and came away as the MVP of the league. That kind of thing really matters to front offices and even if he can’t stick at shortstop long term the bat may be Major League ready by the end of the 2024 season.
Keith Law of the Athletic had the Cubs taking Matt Shaw in a mock draft and he referenced the current Front Office’s interest in advanced metrics and mentioned Shaw’s numbers:
"Shaw is one of the best pure hitters in the draft class with metrics to match, something the Cubs are clearly aware of given their choice of Cade Horton with their first pick last year. "- Keith Law
Fangraphs has a good write-up on him that compares his compact 5’11 frame to Dan Uggla but also talks about some of his drawbacks. His arm may limit him to second base, which isn’t a massive problem as the Cubs still covet middle-of-the-diamond kinds of players.
A while back we looked at Matt Shaw and said this:
That being said, the thing that gives me a bit of concern is that they discussed his inability to cover the upper third of the plate which reminds me of a college bat that I was sure was the real deal. He put up stellar contact and power numbers and was drafted in the first round and now finds himself in AAA due to that same inability to catch up to the high fastball. I’m not saying Matt Shaw is Keston Hiura, I’m just saying that the profile of a player that can only cover ⅔ of the plate scares me a bit.
After the draft Keith Law had this to say about the Cubs first round pick:
"The Cubs took Maryland shortstop Matt Shaw, seventh on my Big Board, with the 13th-overall pick, landing maybe the best college hitter in the draft outside of Dylan Crews and Wyatt Langford. Shaw hits all kinds of pitching and hits it well, with very strong exit velocities and hard-hit/Barrel rates, while using the whole field like an advanced hitter should. He lacks the arm for shortstop but should have zero trouble at second base."- Keith Law
Regardless of where Shaw plays he seems to have the bat to carry the position and should be able to help bring some power to a lineup starved for it.