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Toronto Blue Jays 2016 Season Preview: Devon Travis

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Despite missing most of his Freshman campaign, Devon Travis thrilled during the earlier parts of the season. Once healthy, Travis figures to be an integral part of Toronto’s already dangerous lineup.

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As the Blue Jays march towards opening day, we will be going through the projected roster (and slightly beyond) to project what could go wrong, what could go right, and how the coming year might play out. Next up is the dynamic young second baseman Devon Travis.

2015 Performance Recap

Travis thrilled during his rookie campaign, emerging quickly as a dominant aspect of an already dangerous lineup. He slotted in as lead off man while Jose Reyes was on the DL and did not disappoint. Travis slashed a .304 Average with an OBP of .361 before missing the rest of the season with a nagging shoulder injury.

During that time, he collected 8 Home Runs, 38 Runs, and 35 runs batted in. After falling to injury Travis was primarily replaced by back up Ryan Goins, and while Goins has a career year, he never produced on the same level as Travis.

2016 Role and Steamer Projection

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FanGraphs projections show us more of what we already knew, and while his stats are down over all (typical for Steamer), Travis is projected to perform well yet again. With a projection of a .272 Average and a .324 OBP, the drastic drop in slugging percentage is alarming (more on that later) and likely the cause for a more modest projection of nine dingers, which seems conservative given it was one more than his 2015 total.

Once healthy Travis should have no trouble wrestling second base from Goins. While defensively proficient, Goins does not possess the same offensive upside that Travis has. Travis, too, will be factored into the conversation of who mans Toronto’s leadoff spot, and could provide the same impact there we saw early last year.

What Could Go Wrong?

The question should be what could still go wrong. Travis has suffered multiple setbacks since last June limiting his play time to inconsequential appearances. The main concern is the toll the shoulder injury will have on him. Steamer projects an alarming drop from .498 to .419 in Slugging Percentage. This would indicate that Travis can still make solid contact, but not out-of-the park type stuff we saw last spring.

Next: Did Jenkins get a fair shake in his time with Blue Jays?

What Could Go Right?

Travis could come back completely unchanged and serve as a solid offensive contributor to an already strong team. A healthy Travis makes for an ideal lead off man as he possesses solid contact, a plus on-base tool, and sufficient speed. Even if his homers are down, if he is able to make the massive amounts of contact we’ve seen him make, that’ll be more than enough for the trio behind him to rack up some RBI’s. Who will bat leadoff is one of Toronto’s biggest question marks, one a healthy and dominant Travis eliminate.

The Bottom Line

Devon Travis represents the core of young talent that will propel the franchise into the future. By missing the first part of the season, Travis is hopefully getting that shoulder back to 100% and ensuring that he can provide the most he can in the years to come. Travis will provide immediate impact to the Blue Jays, regardless of where they are in the standings at the time of his return.

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