Introducing the 2017 Boston Red Sox: Sam Travis
The Boston Red Sox have a rapidly rising prospect in Sam Travis whose early season hitting at Pawtucket is worth noticing.
The Boston Red Sox just may have struck prospect gold in Sam Travis, who was drafted in the second round in 2014. Travis is a right-handed hitter who is a first baseman by trade and presents a muscular figure at the plate. What Travis does exceptionally well is hit line drives and that translates into a .300 average.
Travis advanced quickly in 2014 from Lowell to Greenville and finished the season with an impressive slash of .316/.351/.467. In 2015 another advancement in the player’s corporate ladder took place as Travis went from Salem to Portland and the hitting continued with .306/.381/.452. Travis – despite his size – is not a big home run threat hitting only nine in 2015, but gap power showed with 32 doubles and six triples.
Travis had a fall vacation in the Arizona League, but the pitchers did not, as Travis continued his battering of pitchers with a .344 average to set the stage for an attention-getting spring training at Fort Myers slashing .469/.429/.719 and leading the team in RBI with 13. The reward was being sent to minor league camp for the next step – Pawtucket in the International League.
The early going is often one I dismiss since it is spring and everyone is in a bit of a flux for the first 30 or so games, but Travis apparently is in full line drive mode hitting .322 and leading the IL in RBI with 13 (through 4/21). Add in two home runs and Travis is in his usual hitting in any league mode.
As a first baseman, the general reports on his defensive ability is average in all facets from arm to range. On the base paths Travis is – from what I have seen – a solid runner with good instincts, but limited speed – although he did swipe 19 bases in 31 attempts last season and has three with the PawSox. Possibly the term “deceptive” applies to that skill?
In spring training, the ball seemed to jump off his bat. I have seen Travis in one game at Pawtucket and batting practice is simply a series of bolts shot to the outfield. Travis appears to just have an instinct for bat control and strike zone sense that shows he is far more polished than his 22 years would suggest.
As the season in the IL progresses maybe a few holes will be found in his swing, but with his skill set I would suspect this is a player who will quickly adjust. The good news is he is young and the power seems to be improving and that means a few more potential dents in the left field wall at Fenway.
Keep a watchful eye on this kid. I rarely practice hyperbole with young players, but this is one I think will be not only a good player but an impact player. Pawtucket may be a fun place to visit this summer just to watch Travis.
Sources: baseball-reference/sox prospects/MLB prospects