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The season that was: Devon Travis

A look at Devon’s 2016 season

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

Picked up in trade for Anthony Gose (there are trades that work out for both teams, this wasn’t one of them), Devon Travis went into spring training 2015 a bit of a longshot to make the team. It seemed like the team thought he would be better off starting the year in Triple A and polishing off some rough edges from his game.

But, Maicer Izturis got hurt (go figure) and Devon became our opening day second baseman.

The season started off great for Travis, I started to figure he had a shot at AL Rookie of the Year. Then, in mid-May, he went on the DL with a shoulder problem. He came back near the end of June and played through July but, at the end of the month, he went back on the DL and wouldn’t be seen again, missing out on the playoffs too.

In the offseason he had shoulder surgery and missed spring training and the first 47 games of the season.

Year   Age   G  AB  R   H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS OPS+ GDP
2016    25 101 410 54 123 28  1 11  50  4  1 20 87 .300 .332 .454 .785  108   6
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When he played, he was very good.

Baseball Reference had him at a 2.9 WAR. Fangraphs had him at 2.5, giving him a value of $20.3 million to the Jays.

He had a rough time of it in the playoffs, hitting .083/.083/.083, for his 1 single in 12 at bats. He only played the first game in each of the ALDS and ALCS.

Travis had a .337 wOBA and a 109 wRC+.

Compared to 2015, his walk rate was down (4.6%, down from 6.3) and his strikeout rate, like most Jays, was up (20.1%, up from 18.1).

His line drive rate was down (19.2%, from 21.6), ground ball rate down (46.4%, from 50.0) and fly ball rate up (34.4%, from 28.4). Fewer of his fly balls left the park (9.9%, down from 16..0).

Devon’s BABIP was .358, up from .347 last year.

He, like many members of the Jays, had a pretty large reverse split, hitting RHP well (.313/.355/.484) and LHP poorly (.260/.257/.360).

Devon hit better on the road (.323/.349/.520) than at home (.273/.312/.374).

He hit .325/.360/.373 with RISP.

He hit better in the second half (.321/.348/.462), than in the first half (.264/.304/.439).

Travis by month:

  • May: .208/.240/.250 with 0 home runs and 2 RBI in 6 games
  • June: .302/.333/.531 with 5 home runs and 17 RBI in 25 games
  • July: .284/.346/.419 with 2 home runs and 7 RBI in 19 games
  • August: .311/.324/.485 with 3 home runs and 14 RBI in 24 games
  • September: .319/.347/.425 with 1 home run and 10 RBI in 27 games

His defense? FanGraphs has him at a 2.4 UZR/150, down from last year’s 7.1. He made 11 errors, for a .975 FA, a bit worse than the league average of .983. He had a stretch, in the middle of the season, where he was having a terrible time on defense. Other than that little stretch, he seemed pretty good. He looks quick turning the double play. I don’t think there are any Gold Gloves in his future, but he should remain a decent second baseman for the next several years, as long as injuries don’t slow him.

As a base runner, FanGraphs has him at 2.5 runs better than the average player. He had 4 steals and was caught once.

Travis’ longest hitting streak was 17 games, longest on base streak was 19 games.

His favorite team to face? He hit .467/.467/.733 with a home run in 3 games against the Phillies.

Least favorite? He hit just .218/.259/.291 in 14 games against the Yankees.

Devon hit all over the order: 1st (43 games), 2nd (7 games), 5th (2 games), 6th (6 games), 7th (6 games), 8th (20 games) and 9th (14 games).

Travis has had two injury filled seasons with the Jays. He’s played 163 games over the two years, so has missed about half the games. I don’t want to label him as ‘injury prone’ just yet, but it would be nice to see him play 150 games next year.

Second base is a bad position for a guy who is injury prone (though far better than it used to be, back when baserunners would send second basemen flying every chance they got). But I really don’t want to move him from the spot. I guess they could move him to left, but his bat wouldn’t be as big a positive as a corner outfielder. Maybe if he has another injury filled season, then they could think about moving him.

Where in the order he should hit is another open question. He didn’t walk much this year, so I’d rather he didn’t leadoff anymore. In the ‘old days’ a manager would look at him and say ‘bat control’ and have him bat second. Course, they would also have him bunt or hit and run every time the leadoff man got on base. I could see him hitting 2nd or 3rd in the future.

I like the guy. I think he’ll have a very good career, but if he misses half the 2017 season with injuries, I’ll start to worry, and I’ll be wanting the team to move him to the outfield.