Blue Jays: Devon Travis has restored my faith in his future
After battling injuries throughout his big league career, Devon Travis has finally had a healthy season in 2018, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
As the Blue Jays entered the 2018 season, they were forced to find some solid reinforcements for their infield. That was an absolute necessity after enduring a season that saw just 66 games from Troy Tulowitzki, and only 50 from Devon Travis. As a result, Ross Atkins went out and acquired Aledmys Diaz and Yangervis Solarte in separate trades, and the organization continues to add to their middle infield depth all the time.
Tulowitzki’s case is a sad one as he’s struggled to get back on the field for more than a year now, but he’s at least a 33 year old veteran who has had a long and successful career already. In Travis, it was maddening to watch a talented young player have his development and potential stunted by injuries. When he was healthy there was no denying his presence and the potential in the second baseman, but he just couldn’t stay on the field.
The 2018 season has been a different story, and it’s been a huge relief for the coaching staff, and naturally for Travis himself. He’s managed to play in 76 games thus far for the Blue Jays, and that total would have been higher if not for a stint in Triple-A Buffalo to get his bat going earlier this year. He also played 14 games with the Bisons, bringing his season total to 90 so far.
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His career high since becoming a big leaguer is 101, which was back in the 2016 season, so unless something happens to him in the near future (knock on wood), he’ll surpass that total. The Blue Jays have 45 games remaining in their schedule after Sunday’s win, and even though Travis may lose some playing time in September when minor league call-ups take place, It’s hard to imagine him not reaching somewhere in the 110-120 range.
Those that have followed his young career understand the significance of that number, especially as the Blue Jays embark on an impending rebuild. His young age and contract status make him a candidate to be included in the rebuild as a holdover, but he needed/needs to earn that spot in order for the Jays to keep him around. This season has gone a long way toward restoring faith in his potential, especially in his ability to stay on the field.
His overall slash line isn’t amazing by any means, as he’s hitting .251/.301/.398 with eight home runs, 35 RBI, and seven doubles. That said, he’s been much better since the slow start to the season, and I believe a lot of that has to do with his playing time. To begin the campaign, John Gibbons (understandably) treated his return very cautiously, and usually gave him a day off once every three days. While that may have been good for his overall health, it was debatable about how it affected his performance.
Once the Blue Jays took the reigns off a bit his performance improved significantly. After slashing just .148/.212/.246 prior to his demotion to Triple-A, He’s been a much different hitter, and has been one of the better performers on the team this summer. He hit .294/.368/.412 in July while playing in 18 games, and he entered Sunday’s contest slashing .289/.325/.474 thus far in August. That’s the kind of production that will put him at the forefront of the minds inside the Blue Jays front office, and give him strong consideration going forward.
Around Blue Jays fans it feels like it’s always been pretty universally known that he’s a talented player, but the question has always been about his health. I don’t know that he’s put that question to bed completely in 2018, but he’s certainly given fans, and even the front office, reason to believe in him going forward. He could still suffer injuries just like any other professional athlete, but hopefully he can put the “bandaid” label to rest for good. It would be a shame if he can’t because he’s a very talented and likeable player, and could be a great piece of the organization for a long time.