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The season that was: Devon Travis

A look at Devon’s 2018 season

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Going into 2018, the Blue Jays biggest question about Devon Travis was could he play a full season?

In his first three seasons he played 62, 101 and 50 games, missing time with various injuries. We had concerns that we would never make it through a season without a major injury. He really needed to prove to the team that they could count on him to be an everyday player.

Well, he stayed healthy for the most part:

Standard Batting
27 103 378 357 41 83 14 3 11 44 3 2 16 64 .232 .275 .381 .656 80 5
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/19/2018.

Baseball Reference has him at a 0.6 WAR. FanGraphs disagrees, putting him at a -0.5 WAR, giving him a value of $-4.4 million to the Jays (which just nicely offsets my wireless bill for the year).

Travis had a .283 wOBA and a 77 wRC+.

Compared to 2017 his walk rate was up (4.2%, from 3.6) and strikeout rate was down (16.9%, from 19.3).

Devon’s line drive rate was down (21.2%, from 26.4), ground ball was way up (49.8%, from 37.2) and fly ball rate down (29.0%, from 36.5). More of his fly balls left the park (12.9%, from 9.3).

Hard contact was down (30.4%, from 32.2) and soft contact was up (20.8%, from 22.5).

His BABIP was .255 (way down from his career number of .315).

Devon hit much better vs. LHP (.263/.277/.465) than RHP (.221/.274/.349).

He hit much the same at home (.238/.277/.389) as on the road (.228/.273/.368).

He didn’t hit much with RISP (.231/.300/.363).

Devon hit better in the first half (.242/.294/.389) than in the second half (.222/.253/.371).

Travis by month:

  • April: .148/.212/.246 with 1 home run in 18 games.
  • May: ..292/.320/.542 with 1 home run in 7 games.
  • June: .257/.295/.419 with 3 home runs in 23 games.
  • July: .294/.368/.412 with 1 home run in 18 games.
  • August: .214/.252/.398 with 5 home runs in 24 games.
  • September: .245/.245/.347 with 0 home runs in 13 games.

You might remember that he was sent to Buffalo near the end of April. And he didn’t play after September 21st, apparently having a sore knee.

His defense? It wasn’t good. FanGraphs had him at a -12.5 UZR/150. That’s the second worst number in the major leagues among second basement with a minimum of 800 innings (Gleyber Torres had a -16.7).

He made 9 errors (4 fielding, 5 throwing) for a .978 FA (league average was .982).

As a base runner FanGraphs has him at -0.1 runs compared to the average player, making him one of our better base runners.

His longest hitting streak was 7 games, longest on base streak 9 games. The team was 43-51 in his starts.

Where Devon hit in the lineup:

  • 1st: 6 times
  • 2nd: 26 times.
  • 6th: 2 times.
  • 7th: 4 times.
  • 8th: 15 times.
  • 9th: 41 times.

The good news was that Devon stayed relatively healthy all season.

The bad news? He didn’t exactly cement his spot as as second baseman of the future.

His defense was terrible. Before this year he was fairly average with the glove. I don’t know what the problem was this year. Early in the season I thought that his must have still been bothering him. He seemed to have a very slow first step. But the defense didn’t get better as the season went on.

Add in that his bat didn’t remind you of a young Rod Carew and it is hard to imagine the team will want him at second base in the future.

I’m not convinced that he was entirely healthy this year, but I’m starting to believe he’s never going to be 100% healthy. Being far to him Paul Molitor looked injury prone for the first few seasons of his career, but later in his career he played every day and became a Hall of Famer. Of course, Molitor’s bat could carry him at any position. Travis doesn’t have that.

Devon turns 28 in February. With the team in big time rebuild mode, it is hard to imagine they would want to keep anyone nearing 30.

But, after that season, Travis won’t have any trade value at all. If the team wanted to move him, they might play him next year and hope that he builds some value. I don’t really see that happening, but then I don’t know what the front office is thinking.

We have many good infield prospects about ready to push their way into the team. It would be better use of playing time to let one of them play everyday.

Travis has one of my favorite players. I’ve been slow to come around to the idea that he might not become the star I expected.

He does have a habit of making a spectacular looking play.