Blue Jays: New spot in the lineup could do wonders for Devon Travis

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 1: Devon Travis
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 1: Devon Travis /

After immense struggles through the first five games of the season, Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons opted to change things up a little bit, moving second baseman Devon Travis from the leadoff spot to the nine spot in the batting order.

Through the first five games of the season, Devon Travis struck out nine times in 20 at-bats, slashing an atrocious .050/.095/.050. He managed just one hit, an RBI single in Sunday’s game against the Yankees, and looked lost at the dish in the early going.

It’s early, sure, but to Gibbons and the rest of the Blue Jays coaching staff, it’s never too early to change things up to ensure that Travis gets off to a solid start. As my colleague Chris Henderson noted, a healthy Devon Travis could be a catalytic hitter in the Jays lineup.

That being said, Gibby took matters into his own hands Friday night, dropping Travis to the nine-hole, where he went 2 for 4, smashing a double and scoring a run. Overall, he was good for a 0.012 WPA. Frankly, his Win Probability Added score from last night is not worth getting excited about (Fangraphs calls such a WPA “slightly below average”), but it’s the first time he’s posted a positive WPA so far this season.

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As Pat Tabler mentioned on the Sportsnet broadcast during Friday’s game, dropping Travis down in the lineup could take some of the pressure off, and allow him to have some easy, relaxed at-bats without his every swing being magnified. He’ll be able to see better pitches at the bottom of the order and could regain his confidence early on.

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This microanalysis is not to say that Travis will instantly go on an offensive tear due to his new temporary spot in the lineup, but it’s nice to see Gibby doing some shuffling to try and get his guys going. If he starts to have productive at-bats, surely he’ll reprise his role as the leadoff man. Travis batted ninth again Saturday night as the Jays faced off against the Rangers in the second game of their three-game set.