“OMG, seriously Ralph, could you be more of a SAWX homeah? Your first player profile of the season is Sam Travis? What’s next 20,000 words on the benefits of Travis Shaw?” That’s all of you non-nation members upon seeing that I chose to dig deep on the up and coming Red Sox first baseman, but I feel it’s an appropriate time on the heels of his spring training performance that’s drawn rave reviews, and pumped a bit of helium into his prospect status. After all outside of the actual skill set Travis possess three qualities that I find endearing in all ballplayers. 1) He doesn’t wear batting gloves, leaving me to wonder if he urinates on his hands Moses Alou style to make them strong like bull. 2) He has two first names, making his name easy to pronounce and without need for fine-tooth comb spell checking. Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Travis, you done well. Third and most important for our purposes (insert Grey dolphin joke here) he’s an up and coming corner infielder with some boom-boom. As I’ve said on many occasions over the off-season the upper minors are devoid of impact corner bats. So it’s important us dynasty leaguers try our best to horde them before someone else swoops in and does the same. So let’s take a look at Sam Travis, for 2016 Fantasy Baseball (SEO sleeper hold)

Sam Travis, 1B | Age: 22 | ETA: 2016 | 2015 Level: A+/AA
2015 Stats: 559 PA, .307/.381/.452, 9 HR, 19 SB, 11% BB, 14% K

Whether or not he’s “the next Paul Goldschmidt”, I’m not really sure. The one thing on Travis of which I am certain is he’s hit no matter where he’s played. In 2011, after being named the Illinois player of the year by the Chicago tribune, the Chi-raq native was drafted in the 40th round of the 2011 draft by the Cincinnati Reds. Instead of signing Travis chose the University of Indiana, where he proceeded to win the 2012 Big Ten Freshman of the year award. He continued to impress that summer in the Cape Cod league with Dennis-Yarmouth hitting .339 with a .415 OBP, 12 doubles, 4 homers, 35 RBI’s, and earning All-League honors at first. He then followed that up with a monster 2013 at Indiana that led to him winning the Big Ten most outstanding player of the year award. Throughout his amateur and professional career Travis has shown advanced plate discipline, approach, and contact. Across three levels in 2015 Travis walked nearly as much as he struck out (13.7 K% to 10.5% BB%), while slashing .307/.381/.452, with 9 homers and 78 RBIs. Buried behind a stable full of top prospects in the flush Boston system, Travis made headlines over the past two months after hitting .536 with a 1.305 OPS in 28 spring at bats. He easily had the best spring of any of the Sox much ballyhooed prospects, and looks in line to see time in the upper levels of the Sox system, with a shot at supplanting Hanley Ramirez (or Travis Shaw) as the Sox everyday first baseman in 2017. The one question mark surrounding Travis’ game at this point is the ability to hit for power, as his ISO’s been mediocre so far in his professional career.

Here’s how my predecessor Prospector Mike described him in the Red Sox Minor League Preview.  “Travis isn’t a well known prospect, but he can hit and hit for some power. The ceiling isn’t going to be more than 20 dingers, and that limits his upside as a first baseman in shallower leagues. But he has good plate discipline and could be an asset in deepish OBP formats. Travis got some reps in the AFL and should see Triple-A and maybe even a cup of coffee at some point this year.”

Not much different from what I wrote above, does that mean we have a consensus? Perhaps, but we have the additional hindsight of the monstrous spring, and the recent Goldy hyperbole that hit the web Monday via Jon Hayman. Now do I think he’s the next Paul Goldschmidt? No, oh hell no, Goldy is the top corner infielder in the game and a top 3 player in both reality and fantasy. Travis as good as he may be does own that sort of ceiling. With that said, I see no reason why he couldn’t be in the top 10 at the position, and maybe top 5 eventually but expecting a top 10 overall player is quite simply ludicrous. (By the by, am I the only one that wants to spell it Ludacris?) What I do expect to happen is Hanley will be Hanley, show flashes, ultimately crap out with injury, attitude, or ineffectiveness, leaving the door open in late July/early August for a “hopefully” scorching hot Travis to come up and takeover the everyday first base duties. From there, Travis showcases his top notch OBP skills and professionalism, and saves the Royal Rooters from another full season of the pain caused by depending on Hanley.

Conclusion: Excellent grab and stash for dynasty owners looking to add an up and coming corner bat with upside in a projected excellent hitting environment. 

 
  1. Schwab says:
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    For a dynasty league where power is a premium, how would you rank the Top 5 First Basemen?
    Thanks.

    • Schwab says:
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      Top 5 Prospect First Basemen. Sorry.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Schwab: AJ Reed, Cody Bellinger, Matt Olson, and Bobby Bradley. That’s putting a premium on power. Hit tool wise Dom Smith and Josh Bell definitely are in the top 5. Power with those two is far more uncertain though.

  2. Mel

    littlecf24 says:
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    On the topic of Red Sox Prospects:

    Travis Shaw or AJ Reed this year?

    Thanks

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @littlecf24: I still take Reed, Shaw got the 3b job out of camp but who knows if it holds up. Reed looks like a star and should be up soon.

      • Crapshoot Kershaw says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: BA mentions lefty side problems, but guys like rizzo had those for a while, then POOF, they disappeared later.

  3. Bye Felica says:
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    I have
    Lester
    Archer
    Salazar
    Severio
    Yordano
    Plus Yu Darvish on DL
    Plus I have 4 closers

    Would you drop Heaney for AJ Reed stash in a 12er?

    • Bye Felica says:
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      @Bye Felica: or would you swap Heaney for Schoop? I just traded Pence & Lester for Betts so I have an open spot for AJ Reed once the trade goes thru.

      • Ralph Lifshitz

        Ralph Lifshitz says:
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        @Bye Felica: yeah I’d do that

  4. ichirosan says:
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    Just finished my 2 round prospect draft in my 20 man dynasty league, with a team geared up to win now. Ended up with both Gourriel bros, as players like Albies and Olson were the best ranked out of your Top 100.

    Do you think there’s some additional risk with having drafted them both?

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @ichirosan: I think it’s a great move. You have to focus on 4-6 months out and trade value. You have that! Maybe right now it’s not peak but once they sign it will be.

  5. Regan says:
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    Ah Sam Travis, I have spent more time than i care to admit contemplating his credentials. I play in a dynasty league with 10 minor league spots. It’s an 10 team OBP league using ESPN format so he could be useful as a corner man. Not sure the upside is high enough for a roster spot. Would you drop McKinney for him? I’m pretty loaded at OF.

    OF Lewis Brinson TEX
    OF David Dahl COL
    OF Jesse Winker CIN
    OF Manuel Margot SD
    OF Austin Meadows PIT
    P Robert Stephenson CIN
    1st Dominic Smith NYM
    OF Trent Clark MIL
    OF Jordan Patterson COL
    OF Billy McKinney CHC

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @Regan: McKinney in a heartbeat

      • Regan says:
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        @Ralph Lifshitz: He is now mine forever and ever. So long McKinnney, i hardly knew ya.

        • Ralph Lifshitz

          Ralph Lifshitz says:
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          @Regan: Haha Travis love!!!

  6. The JoGarza says:
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    I own Hyun Soo Kim in my minors. Worth getting rid of him and adding Travis? Or better to roll with KIm who either A) will play in the majors this season or B) be sent to the minors and be one injury away from being a regular?

    I just find it hard to believe Kim won’t be useful, especially in my OBP league.

    • Ralph Lifshitz

      Ralph Lifshitz says:
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      @The JoGarza: How deep are your minors? I’d take Travis and find another OF to fill Kim’s spot. He did get beat out by Joey Rickard, a player that went unprotected by the Rays in the rule 5 draft. Travis wouldn’t be a bottom 5 starting first baseman in MLB right now, and he’ll get better.

  7. Frank the tank says:
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    Hey Ralph !

    H2h pts/ weekly lock league.

    I always like to beat my competitors & add the next big bat or arm. Who will be the big calls up for this season? & when can you ball park their call up? Last season I added correa & didn’t look back, I added puig off waivers in 2013, I added polanco too when he got promoted by Pittsburgh.

  8. goodfold2 says:
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    C castro
    1B miggy
    2B lawrie
    SS iglesias
    3B frazier
    MI lowrie
    CI longo
    OF springer
    OF hanram
    OF delino
    OF red dick
    util pedro
    BN castellanos, reed
    NA moncada
    SP carrasco/pineda/buchholz/kennedy/porcello/berrios/holland
    RP: colome/allen/n.jones/dyson

    that AL only from last post. guessing you’d drop reed here too, as not only is moncada ranked higher (but farther off) i have nowhere for reed to play. 10 team AL only with OBP over AVG, total bases added. QS over wins, and holds added. till berrios comes up i’m likely better served adding a 7th SP than reed stashing (or maybe could trade?)

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