With Ryan Lavarnway promoted to the Red Sox, a hole opened up at first base for Triple-A Pawtucket. According to the Portland Press Herald's Kevin Thomas, that will be filled by Travis Shaw, who has been promoted to Pawtucket from Portland.
Shaw scuffled with the Sea Dogs over the second half of 2012 and all of 2013, but something finally clicked for him this season, where he has batted .305/.406/.548 over 47 games and 208 plate appearances. Shaw mashed 11 homers and 20 extra-base hits overall and walked 29 times (14 percent), but most importantly, he only struck out 23 times, or 11 percent of the time. For a player who has been far too passive in the past, waiting for a walk and ending up taking a strikeout or swinging at a pitcher he can't do much with, this evolution into legitimate plate discipline has been huge for his performance.
Whether it lasts is something we'll have to wait and see, though, as International League pitchers will be tough on Shaw than their Eastern League counterparts. Plus, as Lars Anderson and Lavarnway can attest, hitting for power in Double-A doesn't guarantee it will continue in Triple-A, especially not if your bat speed isn't up to the challenge. With Shaw ditching the passiveness, his bat speed becomes the major hurdle that could keep him from having a big-league career. Triple-A might not be enough to answer those concerns on its own, but it's a start.
You would have to imagine this also means the Red Sox have given up on Lavarnway as seriously contributing to the organization. Shaw might not be a top prospect by any means, but he's still got some of that shine to him, and it's difficult to believe the Sox would drop him back down to Double-A in a couple of weeks when Lavarnway is ready to return to Rhode Island. He's been pushed out at catcher by Christian Vazquez and Dan Butler -- who is also considered the team's primary designated hitter in order to get him at-bats on the days Vazquez is the backstop -- and now he's likely been replaced by Shaw on more than a temporary basis.
That's not surprising, considering yet another disappointing offensive performance from him at Triple-A that's bereft of power. Lavarnway is in his final option year, so seeing him traded, designated for assignment, or buried behind prospects would not be surprising in the least at this point.