Boston Red Sox Call Up Top First Base Prospect Sam Travis From The AAA- Pawtucket Red Sox And Demote Starting Pitcher Hector Velazquez
With the Boston Red Sox struggling and in need of a back-up first basemen the club has called up one of their top prospects Sam Travis from AAA-Pawtucket. The corresponding move is the optioning of starting pitcher Hector Valazquez who struggled in the lone start he received last Thursday against the Oakland Athletics.
The move for Travis makes complete sense with starting first baseman Mitch Moreland being overused so far this season due to the fact that Hanley Ramirez is still unable to play first base due to his lingering shoulder injury. Moreland has played in 42 of 43 games for Boston, and in 176 plate appearances has a serviceable .250 /.352/.454 slash line and 5 home runs driving in 21 runners. Moreland is in the top 5 of many of the important hitting categories for Boston and even leads the team with 16 doubles. But it is important he is able to get some rest and maybe a player like Travis can provide a spark and show the franchise if he is capable of being their future first basemen.
Sam Travis is 23 years old and in 33 games for the PawSox he has a .286 batting average paired with 14 RBI’s and 4 home runs.Travis only has 70 games played at the AAA level, has accelerated through system quickly since 2014 when he entered the Boston Red Sox organization.
A major league scout has called Travis the “Next Paul Goldschmidt“, and he has shown an incredible amount of potential in Spring Training for Boston. One of Travis’s big assets is his short and compact swing that allows him to hit for contact to all parts of the ballpark. He also has the nack to have a smart eye and works the count well and understands what a pitcher could throw next, it is that reason that has helped him progress so quickly in the Red Sox system. Travis may not be a big power hitter, but his power is serviceable to the point where I would compare his potential home run numbers to former Boston Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis.
Defensively he has a surprisingly strong arm for a first basemen but is a below-average runner and is best suited to play first. In addition to having a strong arm Travis is confident in picking ballls out of the dirt and is considered a good first basemen. Many are projecting Travis to be a starting first basemen in the major leagues as long as his bat is able to hold up, but in his short time hitting in Spring Training, he showed the ability to hit Major League pitchers and in theory could be the starting first basemen for the Boston Red Sox starting next season given the one year deal that Moreland is on.
Red Sox Team President Dave Dombrowski said only a few weeks ago that he sees Sam Travis as their first baseman of the future. The only thing that is of question right now is if this call-up is long-term, which is unlikely as one would expect Travis to be optioned back to Pawtucket once David Price or Pablo Sandoval returns. But if Travis is able to explode like he has in Spring Training, you might find it awfully difficult to demote a player that brought spark to a seemingly lifeless ballclub.
Moreland may have had three homeruns against Oakland, but that was the only hits he recorded in that four-game set. Even with Moreland being one of the more consistent hitters so far this season, his job is not safe because doing what he has done isn’t something out of the ordinary for a first basemen. Sam Travis may only be up in Boston for a few days, but he truly has an opportunity to tell the franchise who he really is, and in Boston we like overlooked underdogs who have had something to prove their entire careers. At 6 feet 205, Travis is just that, only time will tell if he pans out, but my money is on him being a star in the Boston spotlight.