Devon Travis hasn’t even experienced one full season in the Major Leagues, but he’s already been put through the ringer.
He stormed onto the scene last April by winning the Rookie of the Month Award. Shortly thereafter, an injury sidelined him for six weeks. Upon his return, he re-aggravated his shoulder and was shut down for the remainder of the 2015 season.
Travis watched from the sidelines as his teammates experienced the thrill of the postseason and nearly made it to the World Series. As exciting as that must be to live first-hand, it’s not quite the same having to experience it second-hand.
Following that incredible postseason run by the Blue Jays, it was revealed that Devon Travis had to undergo shoulder surgery and would miss even more playing time; around four to five months.
For the first year, it seemed like there were more lows than highs for Devon Travis; but that is suddenly shifting.
Since his return from the disabled list on May 25th, Travis picked up where he left off last spring and has been on a tear as of late. Thanks to his four-hit performance last night, Travis is officially hitting above .300 on the season.
It’s a remarkable feat for a player who many assumed might not even take the field for the Blue Jays this season. But Devon Travis’ injury doesn’t appear to be hindering his play whatsoever. In fact, he might actually be a little better than last year.
John Gibbons’ move to insert Devon Travis at the top of the lineup has already proven to be effective, as Travis has arguably already won two games for the Blue Jays with his bat alone.
During his time as a prospect in the Detroit Tigers farm system, Travis wasn’t exactly regarded as a defensive-minded second baseman. But he’s been anything but during his time with the Blue Jays; displaying cunning instincts like this:
These are plays which are typically executed by seasoned veterans. And yet, this is coming from the Toronto Blue Jays “rookie” (if you can still call him that) second baseman.
In the field, Devon Travis has been a pleasure to watch at second base. I’ve been especially impressed with the double plays which Travis and Tulowitzki team up for. It may just be Tulo rubbing off on Travis, but those two have turned some gorgeous twin killings this year.
As I was watching last night’s game, I noticed why Devon Travis seems to be a favourite among fans and his teammates alike; because he always seems to be doing something exciting.
Unlike someone like Melvin Upton Jr, Devon Travis constantly puts the ball in play. Travis often goes opposite field and has the ability to use the entire diamond as his canvas. Devon Travis takes advantage of so many pitches on the outer half of the strike zone, pitches which many batters wouldn’t even bother with.
I marvel at Travis’ ability to take a pitch in that part of the strike zone and park it in right field at a moment’s notice. That takes a great deal of discipline and talent, and as Devon Travis displayed last night, it’s a skill which can come in incredibly handy for the Blue Jays.
At this point, it almost seems unfair to bring up the Anthony Gose for Devon Travis trade of 2014, but it bears repeating – the Blue Jays made off like bandits in that deal with the Tigers. Travis made the leap to the Majors right out of Double A; which is exactly where Gose finds himself right now.
Travis has already more than doubled Gose’s career WAR total, and again … Devon Travis hasn’t even played a full season in the Major Leagues yet.
But the Anthony Gose comparison aside, the Blue Jays really do have a true superstar in the making with Devon Travis. He checks all the boxes; he’s an astute baserunner, he fields his position well and he can certainly hit – and hit for power.
Because Devon Travis plays on a team with superstars like Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista, he often gets forgotten as a key component to the Blue Jays’ new-look lineup.
But with several of the Blue Jays’ big bats approaching free agency, Travis could be thrust into a much more prominent role on this club.
In the meantime, Devon Travis has quietly been doing it all for the Blue Jays. With each passing day, he further justifies the reasons the Jays acquired him in the first place.