After showing plus ability with the bat in 2015, Devon Travis once again showed the Blue Jays why they have an exciting piece at second base going forward
Devon Travis finished the 2015 season on the disabled list, missing out on the playoff run while recovering from shoulder surgery. He did finish the season hitting .304/.361/.498 in 62 games, and showed enough promise with the glove to believe in his ability to stick in the lineup. He also had eight home runs, 18 doubles and 35 RBI, hitting anywhere from the bottom of the lineup to the leadoff spot.
Because he was still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, Travis’ season didn’t start until May 25th. Ryan Goins and mostly Darwin Barney filled in admirably for him, but the Jays were happy to have their starting second baseman back in the lineup. He started the year hitting at the bottom of the order, but eventually spent more time hitting leadoff and setting the table for the Blue Jays mashers.
Travis ended up playing in 101 games this season and finished with a line of .300/.332/.454, including 11 home runs, 50 RBI and 28 doubles. He was the Jays’ only hitter to hit .300 or better and showed that 2015 was no fluke.
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The Florida native made 11 errors at second base, but showed at least average ability on defence. He finished the season with a 2.9 WAR after having a 2.4 rating in 62 games in 2015.
Travis also proved to be an asset on the bases, earning a +2.1 rating as a baserunner. He has shown a tendency to be aggressive, taking the extra base 55% of the time, compared to a league average around 40%. With the amount of station to station baserunners the Blue Jays had in 2016, this was an important under-the-radar skill.
The second-year player has already exceeded expectations for the Jays, since coming over in a 1-for-1 swap for Anthony Gose from the Tigers. Seemingly, the only major downside is whether or not Travis can stay healthy.
While he recovered nicely from offseason surgery, he did tweak the shoulder again late in the season, causing some stress in the Blue Jays front office. He also banged up his knee, missing a few games near the end of the season with a bone bruise, and then ultimately had to leave the ALCS against Cleveland due to injury.
He is expected to have offseason surgery on his right knee to remove a small flap of cartilage that was sticking in the knee joint. He is expected to recover fully and in time for the start of spring training.
Going forward, the 25-year-old looks like a fixture in the Blue jays lineup for the foreseeable future. He has shown plus ability with the bat, leading the team in batting average and also showing some promise in the power department. With his skill set, he could hit lead-off, or make a positive contribution from wherever he’s pencilled in.
He won’t be arbitration eligible for the first time until 2018, and won’t be a free agent until 2021, so chances are he’ll be a staple of the Jays’ lineup for many years.
The Jays have had some significant trades in the last few seasons, and acquiring Travis for Gose turned out even better than they could have hoped for thus far.
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