Devon Travis is a talented young second baseman who’s constantly working to improve his game. That makes you wonder, did the Toronto Blue Jays really get this guy for Anthony Gose?
A stubborn shoulder injury kept Devon Travis from participating in last season’s magical playoff berth, but there was never really any doubt that he represented the true future at second base for the Toronto Blue Jays. The brief glimpse that we got of him in April and May, then late June and July showcased a kid who could hit and field with the best of them.
Travis’ eight home runs, 35 RBI, and 38 runs in 62 games last season were seen as a harbinger of things to come. With Travis and Troy Tulowitzki patrolling the middle infield, the opposition were put on notice: good luck sneaking hits past these guys.
Fast-forward to the present season and some of the luster has come off of Travis. The power has arguably seen a dip – Travis has 10 home runs to date in 82 games minus any nagging shoulder issues, but this doesn’t actually depart from many pre-season projections for him – and his defence has been suspect at times.
If you asked Travis, he would probably tell you that he’s just rushing things; he’s trying to make quick plays where an extra second or two to reposition his feet might make all the difference between an errant throw and a highlight-reel out. The fact he knows this, and that he’s been actively working to fix it, is a good thing.
The ongoing development of Travis, in fact, has been on full display over the Blue Jays’ last two games against the Boston Red Sox. On Friday, Travis was the goat alongside Melvin Upton Jr. despite going 3/5 at the plate and bringing home two men. It was his shoddy fielding – Travis recorded his fourth error in seven games – that negated the offence.
That script was flipped yesterday, however, as both Travis and Upton played the heroes in a 3-2 Blue Jays win. Travis went 3/4 at the plate and, following an “awesome” players-only meeting earlier in the day, he looked relaxed and confident in the field. There were no errors or rushed plays on this day.
We can take the last two days as a microcosm of Travis’ overall 2016 campaign. There are sometimes things that make you cringe, but there’s also a lot to appreciate. Add in the fact that Travis is aware of his shortcomings and that he’s actively working to correct them, and you can’t help but return to the conclusion that everyone drew about him last season: this kid has a bright future, and the Blue Jays are going to benefit handsomely from it.
What makes Travis especially likeable, in my opinion, is his personality. He always has a smile on his face, he’s incredibly positive about things, and he just seems to genuinely love the game. This makes it hard, when those errant throws and rushed plays occasionally happen, to hold them against him. You know he’ll try his best on the next play, and that’s often enough to make all the difference.
At only 25 years of age, Travis has a bright future ahead of him, but he’s also making an important contribution to the team today. All of this makes you wonder: how did we ever manage to get this guy for Anthony Gose? Talk about two completely different players.
*FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Bliss Photography @blissnogueira
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