Mar 7, 2015; Sarasota, FL, USA; A general view of Boston Red Sox hat and glove laying in the dugout at a spring training baseball game at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Hitters, Part 1:
The premier prospect to watch in this year’s Red Sox AFL contingent is first baseman. Sam Travis. The Red Sox 2015 minor league offensive player of the year hit .307/.381/.452 in 131 games, splitting his time evenly between Single A Salem and Double A Portland. He had nine home runs and 78 RBIs. The Sox selected Travis in the second round of the 2014 draft out of Indiana University where he was a teammate of the Cubs’ slugger Kyle Schwarber who already has hit three homers in this year’s postseason.
Travis has done nothing but hit since he came into the Red Sox system in 2014. At Rookie League Lowell, Travis slashed .333/.364/.448 in 167 plate appearances before advancing to Low-A Salem where he hit .290/.330/.495 in 115 plate appearances. In 164 starts as a professional at first base, Travis has a .991 fielding percentage with just 13 errors. In his minor league career Travis has slashed .310/.371/.457.
It is tempting to call Travis the first baseman of the future, though his sort of namesake Travis Shaw laid claim to the position with a solid end of the season run (13 homers and .822 OPS in 248 plate appearances). Shaw can also play third base and a little outfield, so he could potentially be like Bryant with the Cubs who plays similar positions, albeit with more home run power. There is also a question as to whether the Red Sox really want Hanley Ramirez to be their first baseman or are just looking for another way to trade him. Travis will need to show he can perform at AAA Pawtucket next year.
Travis is three for 13 with two walks, a double, and an RBI in his first three games in Arizona this season.