In the second round of the 2014 MLB draft, the Boston Red Sox made a great move going after an established college bat, and one of the best first baseman in the draft. They picked Sam Travis, a first baseman from Indiana University Bloomington. He and Cubs draft pick, Kyle Schwarber, made up a powerful one-two punch for the Hoosiers.
Travis, 20, dominated throughout his entire college tenure, smacking 31 career home runs for the Hoosiers with his lowest OBP in any given season being an impressive .397. In the summer, Travis also experienced plenty of success. A Cape Cod League All-Star in 2012 and a member of Team USA’s collegiate team in 2013, it is fair to say Sam Travis was a highly successful college athlete. He signed with the Boston Red Sox on June 17th and headed to Lowell for his pro debut. He then began his journey toward becoming the Boston Red Sox everyday first baseman.
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So far this year for the Lowell Spinners, Travis looks comfortable at the plate. At first he struggled a bit, but now he is tearing the cover off the ball, raising his average to .284, smacking a pair of home runs in 17 games. He is 15 for his last 41, putting him at a .366 average in his last 10 games, making it clear that he has a bright future in the game. In the field, Travis is playing first base for the Spinners without seeing time elsewhere. His secondary position is third base, but at this point it seems unlikely that he will be playing it any time soon.
In a draft where Boston took many high ceiling players over high floor players, Sam Travis offers a high floor to the Red Sox. He is a well polished young player who possess some serious power which is much more developed than most players from the draft. His bat is something special and people will not have to wait and see his power develop because it is already there.
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Of course power is not the only thing a player needs to be successful at the Major League level, but Travis has those as well. Granted with his impressive plate discipline, superb contact hitting, and his high quality defense at first base, all Boston needs to do is sit back and let Travis play. He is mature enough that he should be able to handle any challenge Boston throws at him, but the club should not give any prospect too many challenges. It would be surprising to see him end the year in Lowell and not start his 2014 campaign in at least high-A Salem.
Beyond then, the sky is the limit for Sam Travis. As the best first base prospect in the Boston Red Sox organization, and with Mike Napoli set to be a free agent after the 2015 season, if he develops nicely, Travis is likely to get a shot at being the Boston Red Sox everyday first baseman by 2017. He still has a long ways to go, but if he keeps up what he has been doing for the past few years, the future is bright for him.