Blue Jays Year In Review: The Good, Bad, & Ugly – Devon Travis

TORONTO, ON - MAY 26: Devon Travis
TORONTO, ON - MAY 26: Devon Travis /

Jays Journal takes a look back at 2017, and the good, bad, and the ugly of each individual performance from the roster. This edition covers the extremely talented but unfortunately injury prone second baseman, Devon Travis.

In the season ending press conference with Ross Atkins, the Blue Jays brilliant (yes, he is a brilliant GM) general manager addressed the areas of priority and concern heading into the off-season. Near the top of the list was addressing the middle infield because the Blue Jays cannot afford to rely on Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis for even 100 games going forward.

The injuries to Tulowitzki and Travis tested the middle infield depth and there was not much there with Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins. The Blue Jays were simply exposed in this area. Take away what you will with what Ross Atkins said surrounding Devon Travis. He did acknowledge that Travis is hard to upgrade on when fully healthy. That is very true, but they need to have a legitimate Plan B should Travis either not be ready for the start of 2018, or get injured (which seems inevitable) at some point during the regular season.

It’s quite unfortunate for both the Blue Jays and Devon Travis. He’s phenomenal when healthy and it’s no surprise the Blue Jays best month of 2017 was May, when Travis was leading off, healthy, and producing. He’s also a very good kid, according to nearly everyone. It’s a shame he can no longer be relied upon or trusted to stay on the field. Due to the comments of Atkins, it seems likely that should the Blue Jays find a way to acquire a starting 2nd baseman, they will and then sort out what happens with Travis should he be healthy. I present the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Devon Travis from 2017.

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The Good

The Good is quite obvious. It was the month of May for Travis and the entire Blue Jays team. The Blue Jays went 18-10, which helped them get back into relevancy and give the entire fanbase hope that perhaps the 2017 Blue Jays were ready to move forward and shake off the 2-11 start.

Devon Travis went off in the month of May with a .364/.373/.646 slashline with a wRC+ of 167, 16 doubles, four home runs, and 19 RBI. He was simply phenomenal and showed the fanbase what he can do when healthy. He did show a lot of upside in his 62 games in 2015 as a rookie, and his 101 games in 2016, but this was taken to the next level.

Not only did Travis produce offensively, but he also produced defensively. Travis came to the Blue Jays with the reputation of being a good hitter with a below average to decent glove. He has exceeded both of those expectations during his Blue Jays tenure, but again, only when he remains healthy.

The Bad

While May was fantastic for Devon Travis, April was a struggle. A large reason for his struggles in April was likely due to lack of playing time and at-bats in Spring Training, which was started late due to his knee surgery following the ALCS elimination in 2016. Travis’ April slashline was a woeful .130/.193/.195 with a 0 wRC+.

Outside of the poor April, in his 50 game season, there were a few troubling trends with Travis. The most notable to me was his 3.6 BB%. Travis barely walked at all in 2017. Perhaps that was because he was hitting the cover off of the ball in May, but still, the BB% is something that has gotten worse every season since 2015.

The Ugly

I think you can imagine what is going to be in this section. I was responsible for covering J.A. Happ when this series began, and you’ll likely notice a connection with more pieces as the series rolls along. The Ugly for Devon Travis in 2018 was his season ending injury.

It was quite an interesting way for Devon Travis to get injured and have his season cut short. When the Blue Jays finished an early June series with the New York Yankees, Travis was hit on the hand by a Luis Severino pitch. When the plane touched down in Oakland and Travis was put on the DL, the first assumption before the news broke was that it was his hand. As the news broke and more details came out, it was actually not the hand at all. It was Devon Travis’ surgically repaired knee.

When Travis boarded the plane to begin a series in Oakland, he was fine despite the pain in his hand. When the plane touched down and Travis was ready to get up and off the plane, his knee locked up. It wasn’t until the next morning that Travis told the Blue Jays medical staff as the knee did not improve after a night’s sleep. Just like that, Travis’ season would be at an end.

As mentioned, the injury to Travis was a big loss due to how fantastic he had been in the month of May. It’s also tough to see such a class act go through so much in his early career. Blue Jays team doctors have warned the front office and coaching staff that he may never be able to play a full season without getting injured. It’s unfortunate for the Blue Jays organization and Devon Travis. It’s also UGLY.

Projecting 2018

This may be the toughest player on the Blue Jays to predict for 2018. There are so many avenues the story of Devon Travis could take:

  • As Ross Atkins said, when he’s healthy, he’s hard to upgrade. If he’s healthy, he’s a top 10 second baseman
  • He may not be ready for Spring Training or the beginning of the 2018 season
  • He could come back and get hurt again
  • The Blue Jays add a reliable and healthy second baseman to protect themselves from another potential Travis injury
  • Devon Travis undergoes a position change

There are probably some more avenues this can take, but those are the one’s that immediately come to mind. There is an incredible amount of uncertainty surrounding Devon Travis and so much so that the Toronto Blue Jays can no longer count on Travis going forward. I hope for the best for Travis and want to see him succeed, but if the opportunity to acquire a full time second baseman comes along, they need to take it.

Next: Gurriel may be ready sometime in 2018

Take your bet on what 2018 brings for Devon Travis. Any prediction you make could be wrong or the complete opposite. All I know is that if I was a betting man, I would not bet on Travis staying healthy in 2018.