The 2016 season for the 29-year-old right-hander will likely be remembered for giving up the game-winning run in Game 7 of the World Series, however, the reliever was also an integral part of the bullpen that helped Cleveland get to that point. Although Bryan Shaw posted a relatively underwhelming regular season line, notching a 2-5 record, 3.24 ERA, and one save in four appearances across 66.2 innings, the setup man did produce a career best 9.3 K/9 rate and AL-best 75 appearances. He also heated up in the second half of the season, posting a 2.32 ERA after the All-Star break and earning him a pivotal spot in the heart of Cleveland's bullpen throughout the playoffs. The reliever should factor heavily into the Indians' bullpen next season, as he has led all AL pitchers in appearances from 2012-2016. His durability alone should lock Shaw into the middle of the bullpen alongside Andrew Miller and Cody Allen.
Shaw faced just two batters, walking one and striking out the other, en route to his third hold of the season Thursday in Minnesota. Albeit early in the campaign, Shaw hasn't been overly impressive through his first eight games. His 6.1 percent strikeout rate and 63.6 percent strand rate are well off the marks he's posted in previous campaigns. However, Shaw's .338 BABIP is a stroke of bad luck, and owners can expect the numbers to even themselves out in due time.
Shaw dealt a clean seventh inning in Monday's win over the Twins en route to his second hold of 2017. Shaw's 11-pitch appearance was a nice rebound from Sunday's ugly effort (two runs on three hits in one inning). Coming into the contest versus the Twins, the 29-year-old had surrendered four runs on seven hits and two walks in his previous four innings, so Monday's effort was a calming event for Shaw's owners.
Shaw picked up the win by recording the final two outs, one via strikeout, in Tuesday's 10-inning victory over the White Sox. The 29-year-old has now recorded a win, save and hold through his first four appearances of 2017. It's a much better start for Shaw than last season's nine runs on eight hits allowed through four games. It's extremely early, but he's been much more efficient at this juncture of the campaign than he was a year ago.
Shaw pitched a spotless ninth with a strikeout for his first save of the year Wednesday in Texas. Fresh off picking up a hold Tuesday, Shaw got right back out there in the ninth inning Wednesday because Cody Allen and Andrew Miller had both pitched Monday and Tuesday. He's the clear third option for saves in the Cleveland bullpen, which means Shaw won't record too many unless injuries strike both Allen and Miller. He's a quality source of holds, though.
Shaw allowed one hit and recorded three outs Tuesday against the Rangers to earn his first hold of the season. The reliever wasted no time picking up where he left off in 2016, a season in which he notched a career-high 25 holds. Over the past three years, Shaw's 72 holds are good for fifth-best in MLB during that span. He'll continue to see a ton of opportunities this season.
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