With his trade to the Texas Rangers, former Boston Red Sox top prospect Sam Travis may finally get a chance.
For a time, Sam Travis was expected to be a key part of the Boston Red Sox future. A second round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, Travis dominated in the lower minors. However, when he reached AAA, his progress came to a halt. That lack of production followed him to the majors, where Travis just never could be that player he was through AA.
After being designated for assignment by the Red Sox, and passing through waivers unclaimed, Travis now has a new home. The Texas Rangers acquired the former prospect on Wednesday, sending the also recently DFA’d Jeffrey Springs to Boston.
Travis had not exactly set the world afire in his chances at the major league level. In 278 plate appearances spread over three seasons, he has posted a .230/.288/.371 batting line, hitting seven homers and 13 doubles, striking out 69 times with just 19 walks.
Even with those pedestrian numbers, he may finally receive his chance with the Rangers. Texas is not exactly sold on their incumbent first baseman, Ronald Guzman. Joey Gallo is staying in the outfield. Todd Frazier, who the Rangers signed as a free agent, is currently slated to be the starting third baseman, although that is subject to change if Texas can pull off a trade.
It is easy to see what Travis needs to do if he is going to tap into his potential. Over his major league career, he has posted a meager 13.8% line drive rate, coupled with a 54.3% ground ball rate. Yet, Travis is making respectable contact, with 83% of all balls put in play considered at least medium contact.
The key for Travis will be able to find a way to put the ball into the air more frequently. In the era of launch angles, he has been the opposite, his flat swing not allowing those well struck balls to find gaps. With his change of scenery, and with a few adjustments in his swing, Travis could be the player the Red Sox thought he could become.
If that happens, the Texas Rangers could have their first baseman of the future. Sam Travis could still be what the Boston Red Sox expected, just in a different location.