Matt Shaw has dominated college pitching during his career at Maryland. Besides performing at an elite level during the college season, Shaw also made a statement in the prestigious Cape Cod League this past summer.
In the wood-bat summer league, Shaw hit a league-high .360 with 10 doubles, five home runs and 19 RBIs in 136 at-bats in 36 games to earn the league’s MVP award.
Professional scouts are aware of Shaw’s skill set and success. The junior infielder is one of the top players in college baseball and a potential first-round pick in the 2023 MLB draft.
“It’s really something you can’t control,” Shaw said. “My goal is to play in the major leagues, and the draft is just a stepping stone. Plenty of people get drafted and don’t make it to the major leagues. I don’t care where or when I get drafted. What is important to me is learning enough to move up and make the major leagues as soon as possible.”
Shaw is a 5-foot-11, 185-pound shortstop with a well-balanced toolset. The right-handed hitter has simple mechanics and a short swing that allows him to drive the ball into the gaps.
He hits for average and power and shows solid plate discipline. Besides his ability at the plate, Shaw possesses plenty of speed and projects to steal double-digit bases in pro ball.
“I want to swing with a little bit less aggression at times,” Shaw said. “I can get a little too big and that creates a lot of swing and miss. Controlling that will be very important for me moving forward.”
Defensively, Shaw played shortstop in high school. Shaw was a utility player in his first season at Maryland, seeing time at second base, third base and left field.
Last season, Shaw was Maryland’s starting shortstop. He is athletic and moves well, but some scouts believe his skill set fits better at second or third base long term.
Shaw worked on his arm strength in the offseason. He wants to show an improved ability at shortstop this spring.
“I need to develop my arm strength, so I can have the range to play shortstop,” Shaw said. “I am always working on my defense and hitting. But my big focus throughout the offseason was improving my arm strength.”
Shaw will anchor Maryland’s lineup this spring after hitting .308 with 29 home runs and 97 RBIs in 429 at-bats in his first two years at Maryland.
He will play an important role in Maryland’s success this year. The Terrapins went 48-14 and qualified for the NCAA tournament last season. Their goal is to make the tournament for the third consecutive season and advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, for the first time in program history.
“We have the goals to be elite defensively and elite on the mound,” Shaw said. “We have a lot of offensive pieces coming back and will hit well. If we can do those two things well, our goals are set at Omaha.”
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Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for eight years. He has interviewed 433 of the top draft prospects in that period, including four No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com, The Arizona Republic and The Dallas Morning News, have quoted his work, while he has appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.