For the upcoming season, Jays Journal will be introducing a new weekly series where contributors take a look at the latest Blue Jays rumor or news piece from the viewpoint of an optimist, a pessimist, and a realist.
Devon Travis is a polarizing figure to Blue Jays fans. He has the talent to become an above average regular 2nd baseman for the Jays but seemingly can’t stay on the field enough to contribute. What is his future outlook going forward?
Optimist – Brendan Panikkar
There is no excuse for Blue Jays fans to complain about Devon Travis heading into 2017. Simply put, Travis is not injury prone. He has suffered two freak injuries, two injuries that he will be able to put behind him.
There is so much upside with Devon Travis. In 2015, he played in only 62 games and finished with a 2.3 fWAR. In 101 games last season, he was better at 2.5. A 2nd baseman that can hit at the top of the order, steal bases, hit for power, and have a good average is hard to find. Once Travis is healthy, look for him to stay healthy and cement himself as one of the better 2nd basemen in baseball.
Pessimist – Chris Henderson
I really want to be positive about Devon Travis’ future with the Blue Jays, but he’s making it very difficult for me. It’s hard to argue with his upside, as he’s shown an ability to make contact at an above-average level, and has looked better than advertised at second base as well. The problem is, you have to stay healthy in order to become an elite player, something I don’t know if Travis is capable of doing.
The knee injury he’s battling this spring is troubling, as it’s a “minor” injury that was sustained nearly 5 months ago. The fact that his body is having trouble bouncing back from a deep bruise makes me nervous, to say the least. Throw in a flap of cartilage in the knee that needed to be removed, and a shoulder injury in 2015, and you’ve got a guy with a penchant for getting hurt who takes a great deal of time to get healthy. Here’s hoping the Blue Jays are just being cautious with him this spring, but after waiting until May 25th for his shoulder to heal last year, his ability to bounce back has to be a concern.
Realist – Jason Lee
There is no questioning Devon Travis’ talent on the field, as he has the potential to blossom into an above-average second baseman, perhaps that of an All-Star caliber quality. However, a big caveat that comes with that is Travis’ health. During his short, five-year career in professional baseball, Travis has been able to play more than 100 games in a mere two seasons with his highest total coming last year in 2016 (110 games played).
Considering the Blue Jays’ cautious approach with Travis this spring to go along with serious concern that Travis will have to start the season on the DL, it is unrealistic to expect Travis to play more than 150 games during a grueling MLB season. In 2017, a reasonable expectation for Travis is a .290/.335/.455 slash line with 15 homers in 125 games. He has the potential to exceed those expectations, but don’t be surprised if Travis wastes yet another year with a prolonged DL stint.