On the brink of becoming a prospect “bust,” the Red Sox first baseman has provided value in 2019.
There was plenty of confusion surrounding Red Sox Nation when Alex Cora first began to utilize Sam Travis in key spots. Truthfully, it didn’t make much sense as the Sox began to deploy the former top prospect in key spots. Travis had only posted a .222 and .263 batting average in his first two seasons with the Major League club, a far cry from being reliable.
However, Cora’s faith has been largely rewarded as the former Red Sox prospect has posted the best season of his career – collecting a .265 average, 6 HR’s and 15 RBI’s this year. Additionally, Travis has been valuable against LHP, where he’s launched five of his six homeruns and is batting .283.
A season ago, it’s quite likely that very few people would have believed that the Red Sox would be utilizing Sam Travis in big spots; however he’s fulfilled the “next man up” mantra. It took injuries to Steve Pearce, Mitch Moreland, and Michael Chavis, but Travis has made the most of his opportunities this year. His ability to pinch hit, while starting at first and in the outfield, has allowed him the positional flexibility that Alex Cora values in his lineup card.
Perhaps what may be more intriguing is utilizing Travis in the future. As Christopher Smith of MassLive pointed out, the utility man will be out of minor league options next season – thus stressing the importance of making the roster outright. Both Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce will have expiring contracts and, with Travis under contract for multiple additional seasons, he may audition for a legitimate role. Bobby Dalbec and Michael Chavis will contest for the long term spot in the lineup, but don’t count out the former Red Sox prospect.
In a season largely full of disappointment, Sam Travis has been a bright spot for the Boston Red Sox.