Josh Shaw already carries himself like a major leaguer.
On the field, the junior second baseman at St. John’s displays elite instincts. At the plate, the ball pops off his bat. Off the field, he answers the press’ questions honestly, articulately and with humility.
In short: He’s ready. And good thing, too: Baseball America, the scouting bible, ranks Shaw as the Red Storm’s top prospect for the 2018 MLB Draft.
“Josh is one of the better players I’ve had in my time here,” said Ed Blankmeyer, who is in his 23rd season as head coach.
Blankmeyer’s program has a rich history, with 36 NCAA Tournament and six College World Series appearances. Shaw need not look far to find a role model for making it to the bigs from the tristate area, by way of Queens: Former New York Mets pitchers Frank Viola and John Franco started out at the school and, more recently, Yonkers native Joe Panik was drafted in the first round after his junior season in 2011. He’s entering his sixth season with the San Francisco Giants, with whom he won the 2014 World Series.
“Everybody here looks up to [Panik],” said Shaw, who grew up in Wayne, New Jersey and played high school ball at Don Bosco Prep, one of the top programs in the state.
Shaw, a 2017 First Team All-Big East selection, and Panik share some similarities in the way they approach the game. Shaw, like his predecessor, is sound fundamentally. Blankmeyer credits both with great “baseball instincts” and a knack for making big plays.
“Josh is one of the best defenders I’ve ever coached,” the coach added, when asked to assess Shaw’s game. “Offensively, he’s shown flashes he can be a really good hitter, and I think we’ll see some power come as he matures physically.”
As nice as the big league chatter is for Shaw, though, he’s focused on helping the Red Storm (17-10, 3-0 Big East) win the conference crown and reach the NCAA Regionals — at least.
Shaw also would like to earn his degree. He’s majoring in sports management with a minor in finance.
“My priority right now is St. John’s,” he said. “This program has been great for me, and I owe my teammates and coaches for getting me to this point. I know we’re the best team in the Big East. We just have to play to our potential.”