08/05/2022 8:00 AM
Article By: Daniel Fox
On Friday, the Cape Cod Baseball League announced the winner of their Most Valuable Player award. Bourne Braves’ second baseman Matt Shaw has been the most dominant player in the league from day one, leading the league with a .360 batting average to go along with five home runs and 19 RBI.
“He comes to play everyday. And he wants to get better,” Bourne head coach Scott Landers said. “He’s a special player.”
Shaw’s dominance at the field has been defined by flash, whether it be tape-measure home runs or lighting-quick thefts of second base. Yet to Shaw, his success has been a product of keeping things simple.
“I think (it’s all about) just sticking with an approach,” he said. “Just sitting on the right pitches, and having a plan up at the plate every at-bat.”
Shaw’s approach was on full display at the University of Maryland, where he slashed an incredible .290/.381/.604 with 22 home runs and 34/46 walk-to-strikeout ratio.
Shaw has continued to hit at an extraordinary level in the CCBL, but he has taken his work on the bases to a new level. After stealing 12 bases on 16 attempts in 60 games this spring, Shaw has swiped 22 bases in 35 contests this summer while being caught just three times.
“I think that’s huge,” Shaw said of being able to impact the game on the bases. “Stealing bases is super important, and hopefully I can continue to grow and learn that part of the game.”
Shaw’s stolen base totals should come as no surprise to anyone who's watched him run. What’s more surprising is the amount of power Shaw is able to generate from his 5’11 frame. For inspiration, Shaw looks to major league stars who have accomplished the same feat.
“I can definitely appreciate guys like Dusin Pedroia and Alex Bregman, guys who are around my size and play the game hard,” Shaw said.
The performance on the field is what earned Shaw this prestigious award, but it’s the work Shaw does before the game that has caught Braves coach Kevin Kelley’s eye.
“What’s really stood out to me about him is the routines he brings every single day,” Kelley said. “A lot of kids his age don’t really have that routine when he comes to the ballpark, but he knows exactly how to prepare himself.”
That preparation has not just helped Shaw achieve league-leading numbers, but powered his Bourne Braves to the best record in the Western Division. The Braves finished the season a 7-0-1 run, a stretch where Shaw hit near the .400 mark.
The Braves now enter the playoffs as one of the hottest teams, with the league's most prolific player, and will look to continue their success in their opening series against Falmouth. It will take another strong performance from Shaw to take home the championship, but if the regular season was any indication, he’s up for the challenge.
“I think we come to the field and we have so much fun every day,”Shaw said. “I think that’s going to help us win a lot of games, I could see us winning a championship if we just keep having that attitude and enjoying everyday together.”