December 23, 2015 at 7:00 AM
This week, we recap the next three players in the season-end Top 40, going from 10 to 8. All entries in this year's Top 40 Season in Review series can be found here.
Sam Travis, 1B
2015 Teams: Salem Red Sox, Portland Sea Dogs
Final Stats: 559 PA, .307/.381/.452, 9 HR, 59 BB, 77 K
2015 Peak Ranking: 7 (Current)
Season In Review: 2014
Dunne: System Restart, Corner Infielders
2015 SoxProspects Pre-Season All-Stars
Player of the Week, April 27-May 3
Player of the Week, June 1-June 8
Travis to represent Salem as Carolina League All-Star
Report: Sam Travis promoted to Portland
June Player of the Month
Travis highlights six announced for Arizona Fall League
2015 SoxProspects.com All-Stars
Travis, Moncada highlight Red Sox minor league awards
Season In Review: Travis did not miss a beat in his second professional season, passing just about every challenge thrown at him in 2015. After raking in Lowell and Greenville in 2014 just after being drafted, Travis posted very impressive offensive numbers again in 2015 over two levels. He earned the Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player of the Year award from the organization, as well as two SoxProspects.com Player of the Week honors and the SoxProspects.com Player of the Month award for June. In that month for Salem, Travis posted a .406/.474/.638 slash line with three home runs and five doubles before being called up to Portland on June 24. He had nine multi-hit games in June, including a 4-for-4 day for Salem on June 12. He was also named to the Carolina League All-Star Game, where he collected a pair of hits.
Travis had a brief adjustment period after his call-up to Portland, but a 4-for-7 day on July 2 ignited his success with the Sea Dogs. He finished with an even .300 average in Portland with four home runs and 17 doubles in 65 games. The only offensive disappointment on the season, was the lack of over-the-fence power shown for a first base prospect, finishing with just nine home runs. He also added some intrigue on the base paths, racking up 19 steals between Salem and Portland, but also being caught 12 times. A 2014 second-round draft pick out of the Indiana University, Travis continued to mash in the Arizona Fall League, posting a .344/.394/.505 slash line and leading the league in doubles with 10. He was named to the Arizona Fall League Top Prospects Team by the league’s managers and coaches—the only Red Sox prospect to earn that honor. - Eric Gendron
Scouting Report and 2016 Outlook: In his first full year in the organization, Travis continued to show an advanced approach at the plate, impressing across two levels. Travis does not stand out physically, listed at 6-foot-0, 210 pounds, but he has a solid, athletic frame and a strong work ethic. His strong contact skills and approach have allowed him to thrive at the plate since signing with the team.
Travis understands the strike zone and does a very good job tracking the ball and working counts. He swings hard with strong wrists and above-average bat speed. Travis could develop a solid-average to plus hit tool due to his level swing and consistent hard contact to all fields. However, the ultimate determination of Travis long-term offensive potential hinges on how his power develops. Travis will show solid-average raw power in batting practice, but in games with his line drive-oriented swing, he tends to show mostly gap power. This will lead to a fair amount of doubles at the big league level, but as he is limited defensively to first base or maybe left field, he will need to show over-the-fence power as well. Right now, Travis projects to have average power potential with around 15 home run upside at the big league level. Travis is only fringe-average runner and speed does not project to be a big part of his game.
Defensively, Travis has shown soft hands and good instincts picking throws out of the dirt. He has an average arm and profiles as a potentially above-average first basemen. He looks to have enough athleticism to handle left field, though some evaluators have also suggested it would be worth trying him out at third base, a position he played at times in college. Regardless of position, his overall projection is mainly contingent on how his power develops at the plate. If he does develop average power or even a little bit more, he has the potential to be a starting-caliber first baseman who drives in runs, gets on base at a decent clip, and plays a solid first base. Travis is on track to start 2016 in Pawtucket with the eye towards his first big league call-up at some point during the season. - Ian Cundall
Photo credit: Kelly O'Connor