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Saturday, November 19, 2016

2017 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT SLEEEPER: DEVON TRAVIS 2B TORONTO BLUE JAYS


Many in the fantasy baseball community tend to have short-term memories when it comes to players and this is especially true if such a hitter or pitcher is young of age.  Often a hot stretch of intriguing play followed by injury or an extended slump can quickly dull any fantasy baseball momentum that might have been building.  This was such a scenario for Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis over the last two seasons as he ran the gamut from being highly sought after to becoming waiver wire trash.  Winning the second base job out of spring training 2015, Travis became an overnight sensation that April by hitting .325 with 6 home runs and 19 RBI in only 80 at-bats.  It certainly looked like Travis was setting himself up to possibly be the next big thing at the always volatile second base position but then the calendar flipped to May which was when all the trouble began.  A rough .189 performance that month was soon followed by a bout of shoulder soreness that eventually landed Travis on the DL.  While he did make it back in July for a short 21-game stint, more shoulder pain sent Travis back to the DL for good and  soon surgery was performed that offseason which prevented him from being ready at the start of 2016.  After what seemed like endless waiting, Travis was activated from the DL in May and proceeded to go right back to hitting the baseball hard but with much less attention paid to his accomplishments.  Batting .300 with 11 home runs in 432 at-bats, Travis showed his shoulder was sound and that he was ready to be a key contributor both for the Jays and his fantasy baseball owners.  As far as the advanced numbers were concerned, Travis showed an overall nice approach at the dish, which has helped him hit for average at a still very young age (he won't turn 26 until February).  A 20.1 K/9 rate looks just fine but Travis does need to show some more patience since he walked in just 4.6 percent of his at-bats last season.  With age usually comes more patience and that will further solidify Travis as a decent average guy going into the future.  Depending on where the Jays hit Travis this season, his counting numbers in runs and RBI should be helpful as well given how potent the lineup is.  In terms of the power, we don't really know yet how high that ceiling goes but Travis has shown he can hit the baseball hard which makes 20 home runs not out of the question. Travis also possesses good speed but it has not translated yet on the base paths (just 4 steals in 2016).  What should really be interesting about Travis for 2017 fantasy baseball is the fact no one is really talking about him since April 2015 is slipping out of the minds of many.  That means a very good profit could be made here if you choose to go with Travis as your starting second baseman.

2017 PROJECTION:  .292 17 HR 62 RBI 65 R 8 SB

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