In a game!
This is very good news for the Blue Jays and their beleaguered second baseman, even if it is — as Arden Zwelling tweets — only going to be a minor league game, and only as a DH.
Arden penned a full piece on Travis today at Sportsnet, noting that it’s the bone bruise that Travis mysteriously picked up last fall that’s still ailing him — as an aside he notes the fact that Travis also had minor surgery to repair some torn cartilage in November (basically the opposite of what I surmised when I ruminated on Travis and his injured knee last week — I assumed the cartilage injury was the tricky one, seeing as he was ready to play though the bone bruise in the playoffs).
Whatever the case, this would seem to be good news. Y’know, unless you’re Ryan Goins, whose spot on the Opening Day roster probably depends on whether or not Travis is healthy, and who would first have to clear waivers to be sent down to Buffalo.
In his two full years with the Blue Jays, Travis has only managed to get into slight more than a year’s worth of games: 163, to be exact, in which he’s taken 670 plate appearances. Over that span he’s been worth a rather incredible 4.8 WAR, according to FanGraphs. And if you look at his month-by-month splits, that mark doesn’t appear to be skewed too badly by exceptionally hot stretches, either. He was bad for six games in May of 2016, which makes that particular split look ugly, and for 14 games in May of 2015. He was especially hot in April and July of 2015, and league average (by wRC+) for five games in June 2015. In the other months in his big league career — and there are four of them — he’s been mostly healthy, and his wRC+ has ranged from 108 to 128.
We can’t just extrapolate and say he’s likely to be worth something like four wins and hit to a 119 wRC+ (which is his career mark), but holy shit, there’s a lot more to like here than the replacement level guys who’d be taking his place. Which I’m sure is obvious, but I think is a point worth underlining.
Even somewhat conservative projections like Steamer (115 GP, 96 wRC+) or FanGraphs’ depth charts (110 GP, 104 wRC+) peg him for a WAR just a shade under two. A more aggressive projection from ZiPS (114 GP, 111 wRC+) puts him at 2.5 WAR.
We should all be thrilled if he puts together a season like that. We should all also, in the back of our minds, be thinking, “he can definitely do better.” That is… if he stays healthy.