Blue Jays’ Devon Travis sets a new career high for games played
With his 102nd appearance earlier this week, Devon Travis set a new career high for games played in a season, and will hopefully shake off the injury bug for good.
When the Blue Jays went out and traded for Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz this past offseason, there was good reason for it. Their talented infield of Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis were mostly effective when they were on the field, but the problem was neither was able to suit up very often.
In 2017 they combined for just 112 games played, and while Tulowitzki had a long injury history, it was disappointing to see his keystone mate following a similar path so early in his career. Devon Travis has dealt with his fair share of time in the rehab room for being just 27 years old, and the 2018 season was a step in the right direction to avoiding it going forward.
It hasn’t been a perfect season for the Florida native, but there has been one huge win in that he’s managed to stay on the field throughout the year. There have been limitations on playing too frequently, and a stint in Triple-A to get his bat going earlier in the season, but through it all Travis has managed to stay relatively healthy, and that’s by far the most important thing for the likeable infielder.
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His previous career high for games played in an MLB season was 101 in 2016, and on Wednesday night he managed to surpass that total. After starting on Friday night he’s up to 103 appearances, and if you include the 14 games he played in Buffalo he’s way beyond his previous mark. He’s had just 357 at bats this year, short of the 410 he had in 2016, but again, he’s beyond that figure if you include his MiLB at bats.
His .234/.277/.384 slash line isn’t where the talented hitter wants to see his numbers, but he’s been much better since the .148/.212/.246 start he had before returning to the big league lineup. He even had his average up to .251 in mid-August before a more recent slide has brought it back down a bit.
As was also noted on last night’s broadcast, Travis can look forward to taking a different approach to his offseason, and one that should be a lot less stressful on his mind and his body. At this point he’s got to be tired of rehabbing, and instead of working with doctors to get his body back in shape, he can concentrate on resting and improving his craft. That’s no small thing for a professional hitter at the highest level, and I’m cautiously optimistic there could be a big difference in the Florida State University product.
With the presence of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Brandon Drury, Richard Urena, Solarte, Diaz, and more, Travis is going to have to earn his playing time next season assuming there aren’t multiple trades coming from the group. Even with one or two moves, there is still enough depth that he’ll have to earn his way into the lineup for a new manager, assuming John Gibbons does not return as expected.
For now he can celebrate the milestone of staying healthy throughout the year, and look at it as an important building block to his career. He’s faced his share of road blocks so far in just four seasons with the Blue Jays, so it’s great to see him being rewarded for all the time put in with the training staff.