After starting the season ice cold at the plate, Devon Travis has heated up and has been of the best hitters in the Blue Jays lineup in the month of May.
Things didn’t start out how they were supposed to for Devon Travis this season, but he’s doing everything he can to help us forget about that, and doing an excellent job of it. The second baseman finished April with a .130/.193/.195 slash line, with just 1 home run, 2 doubles, and 4 RBI in 77 at bats.
He began the season as the leadoff hitter in John Gibbons‘ lineup, but lost that role to the surging Kevin Pillar, and even slotted in the lineup as low as 9th on a few occasions. With Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson getting injured, and both Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney playing well in their absence, there were calls on social media and in print media for the Blue Jays to do anything from bench Travis, to demoting him to Triple A.
If you started watching the Blue Jays in May with no knowledge of the season’s first month, it would be hard to believe that the 3rd year infielder is the same player who floundered to start to campaign. In May, Travis has a slash line of .361/.375/.590 and has added an astonishing 14 doubles in 61 at bats. Out of his 22 hits in the month, 14 have been doubles, and he also added another home run as well.
The Blue Jays’ franchise record for doubles in May is 15, held by Fred Lewis who accomplished the feat with a scorching month back in 2010. With 8 games remaining before the month closes out, there’s a very good chance Travis will be the new franchise leader in the category.
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All of this seemed like a fantasy back at the end of April when he was struggling, and even being a believer in his talents, I wondered if he wouldn’t benefit from a stint in Triple A even with all the mounting injuries. Now that he’s put together a solid 3 weeks at the plate, he’s raised his season numbers to .239/.278/.394, which still isn’t pretty but it’s come a long way (literally over 100 points) in a short time.
With Donaldson and Tulowitzki still on the shelf, his emergence at the plate has been of significant benefit to a struggling lineup. The injury bug has been attacking the roster to comical proportions, also holding Steve Pearce, and Darrell Ceciliani, after just recently seeing Russell Martin return from a stint on the 10 day DL as well.
As Buck Martinez and Pat Tabler noted in regards to Travis during Sunday’s broadcast, “eventually you are who you are”. What they meant by that is that player’s go through struggles, but over the course of a 162 game season, most of the time a player will eventually end up in the same neighbour in the stats department, barring injury and severe regression of course.
By that simple logic, it’s not surprising to see the Florida native’s average rising rapidly, considering he hit .304 in 217 at bats as a rookie in 2015, and an even .300 in 410 at bats last year.
There were calls as recently as last week for Goins and/or Barney to start at second base once Tulowitzki returns (which we’re still waiting for), leaving Travis on the bench. Now that he’s back swinging the stick the way Jays fans have grown accustomed to from him, that talk has quieted down altogether. He is also slowly regaining the trust of John Gibbons, slotting in 5th in the lineup on Sunday, and producing the eventual game-winning 3 run home run against the Orioles.
So for now, we’re sorry we doubted you Mr. Travis, and it’s great to see you’ve found your stroke.