2016 Blue Jays Season Review: Devon Travis

Photo: Jay Blue

Photo: Jay Blue

By: Jay Blue and @JaysGirlEmily

Blue Jays From Away

Now that the season is over, the crew at Blue Jays from Away will take a look at the Blue Jays one by one and review how each player’s season went, whether he met expectations (or not) and look at how he fits into (what we think of) the Blue Jays’ plans going forward.

Devon Travis came into his second season with the Blue Jays knowing that he wouldn’t be ready to start the season. He had bone in his shoulder that didn’t attach properly and had some fairly experimental surgery to try to fix that over the winter. With an unknown timeline, Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney were tapped to hold the fort until Travis’s return.

Travis made his season debut with the Dunedin Blue Jays on May 13, going 1-for-4 with a double. He amassed four more hits (including another double) in his four games before moving up to Triple-A Buffalo to continue his rehab. After going 3-for-4 in his first game (yup, with a double), he was 0-for-5 in his second but had a hit in each of his next three before the Blue Jays activated him from the DL.

Travis made his 2016 big league debut on May 25 against the New York Yankees and proceeded to get a hit in each of his first five games and seven of his first eight. He really got hot in an 18-game stretch from June 12 to July 2, getting at least one hit in 17 of those 18 games and having multi-hit games in nine of them, hitting .364/.395/.597 with six doubles and four home runs over that streak. Another highlight for Travis was his first career two-home-run game on August 5 against the K.C. Royals and he followed it up just three games later with a 4-for-5 performance against Tampa Bay.

Once he got back into the swing of things, Travis had pretty consistent season, hitting .208/.240/.250 in May but that went up to .302/.333/.531 in June with a .284/.346/.419 in July (his “down” month) followed by a .311/.324/.485 in August and a .319/.347/.425 in the regular season in September/October. Travis finished the season hitting .300/.332/.454 with a career-high 11 home runs, a 4.6% walk rate (which he’ll probably work on improving in 2017) and a 20.1% strikeout rate. That was good for a 2.5 fWAR (and a 2.9 rWAR, according to Baseball Reference), thanks to some solid defence.

Travis was 1-for-5 with a run in the Wild Card Game but a knee injury against Texas limited him to just two more playoff games and seven hitless at-bats.

Contract Status

Travis likely has one more year before he becomes eligible for salary arbitration.

Emily Says

Devon Travis underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason, and missed the first two months of 2016 as a result. After a short rehab stint, he made his season debut on May 25th in New York. He had a hit in each of his first five games, hitting .208 in 24 at-bats in May.

On May 28th, he contributed to a walk-off win against the Red Sox, as he came up in a tie game in the bottom of the 9th with two outs and Russell Martin on 2nd. Martin moved up on a wild pitch, and Travis hit a ball which eluded the first baseman (it was ruled an error) and Martin scored, giving the Jays the win.

Travis hit five home runs in June, the first of which was on the 3rd in Boston. On June 19th he went 3-for-3 with a walk, a home run and two doubles, driving in three in the process. He only walked five times, compared to 17 strikeouts. His monthly slash line was .302/.333/.531. He had two more three-hit games in July, as well as two home runs and four doubles. His average and slugging dipped a bit, to .284 and .419 respectively, but his OBP rose to .346. He scored the winning run in a walk off of the Padres on July 26th, racing home in the 12th inning on a wild pitch.

On August 5th, Travis had the first multi-home run game of his career, leading off the game with a solo shot and then putting the Jays ahead in the 9th inning to help them win 4-3 over the Royals. Three days later, he’d have another career first – collecting four hits, including a triple, against the Rays. He hit .311 in August but only walked twice, resulting in an OBP of .324. He suffered a hand injury towards the end of the month which caused him to miss five games.

In September, his average was .330 and while he didn’t hit any home runs, he hit nine doubles and drove in nine. Despite the dip in power, September was a good month for the 25-year-old, as he had a 17-game hit streak, nine of which were multi-hit games. His last home run of the season, on October 2nd, was an important one – it put his team ahead 1-0 in the game they would go on to win and clinch a spot in the AL Wild Card game.

He didn’t play enough games to qualify for the official leaderboards, but his .300 average was the highest on the team. He only walked 20 times (4.6% of the time) resulting in a .332 OBP, and struck out 87 times (or 20.1%), which gave him a BB/K ratio of 0.23. His 11 home runs, 28 doubles and one triple out of 123 hits gave him a .454 slugging percentage, and an OPS of .785. Travis drove in 50 and scored 54 times. He also stole four bases and was caught once.

On the defensive side of things, Travis seemed to have stretches where he’d be shaky and make multiple errors over the span of a series, then be fine for weeks. He made 11 errors in 859.1 innings at second base, and had a fielding percentage of .975. He also turned 59 double plays.

Travis played less than 3 full games in the postseason, going 1-for-12 at the plate. His lone hit was a single in the Wild Card Game, and he also scored two runs (the other after he reached on an error in ALDS Game 1). He struck out once. He had a knee injury bother him after ALDS Game 1, so he sat the other two games in that series.

He then played four and a half innings of ALCS Game 1 before being removed with a different knee injury. He was replaced on the postseason roster and would’ve been ineligible for the World Series had the Jays continued. He also holds the dubious distinction of grounding into four double plays in the postseason, with fewer games played than GIDP. (For comparison, he grounded into six double plays in the entire 2016 season).

Travis underwent surgery on the knee after the season ended, and should be ready to go for Spring Training.

Regular Season Grades

Jay: A-
Emily: B+

Postseason Grades

Jay: C-
Emily: D