The Toronto Blue Jays are on a roll. As a team, they sit in second place 2.0 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the American League East. The Jays are closing out the season’s first half strong. They ended the Indians’ lengthy winning streak and then proceeded to sweep the defending world champion Royals last week. They’ve now taken the first two games of a series with the Detroit Tigers to make it seven wins in a row. While Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion have continued to terrorize opposing pitchers, one player who has quietly helped the monster that is the Blue Jays’ offense is second baseman Devon Travis.
Breakout Player Spotlight: Devon Travis
A Troubling Start
Travis began the season on the disabled list recovering from a shoulder injury which required surgery last November. The ailment halted his 2015 campaign early; a campaign which showed the promise of a potential Rookie of the Year season. After a lengthy recovery and rehab schedule, Travis returned to the Jays’ lineup in May ready to make an impact. He collected a hit in each of his first five games. However, life in the big leagues is never easy. In the eleven games that followed Travis only managed four hits in thirty-nine at-bats. His batting average bottomed out at .145 as he struggled to hit his stride. Throughout the final week of May and the first two weeks of June, Travis was quiet at the bottom of the lineup. Some thought he might still be feeling the effects of his previous injury.
A Strong Finish
The Blue Jays decided to play it safe with the dynamic second baseman and mixed in plenty of rest as he began to regain his footing at the Major League level. That decision paid off greatly for the organization. Travis found his footing after a few weeks, proving that his shoulder was back to full strength. He has hit the ground running ever since. Travis is finishing the first half of 2016 right where he left off in 2015. Over the last two weeks, Travis’ slash line has exploded to the tune of .351/.387/.966. He has five long balls to his name since his return from injury to go along with his 20 RBI and three stolen bases.
He’s contributing not only on offense but on defense as well. In his 35 games at the keystone position, Travis has yet to commit an error. He’s collected 39 put-outs and 84 assists en route to his 1.000 fielding percentage. When the Blue Jays acquired Travis in 2014 for outfielder Anthony Gose, they were well aware of his prowess with a bat. His steady glove and presence on defense at the Major League level is not going unnoticed.
The Blue Jays have fielded a platoon of Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins at the second base position while Travis has been sidelined by his shoulder. While they have performed well enough to lock down the middle infield with Troy Tulowitzki beside them at short, the Jays want Travis to be the everyday second baseman moving forward. Look for Devon Travis to continue his success in the second half of the season and be the stable presence the Blue Jays desire at second.