Travis Jankowski had quite the Major League debut for the San Diego Padres. The Friars’ outfield prospect went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, helping his new team to a 9-3 victory over the league-leading St. Louis Cardinals.
However, it appears that the excitement from that night has worn out, and the kid is beginning to look like a young rookie playing among men at the highest level of baseball.
Jankowski has played in 15 games, going 7-for-28 to post a .250 batting average to this point, recording three RBIs in the process.
While a .250 BA looks normal for a young player, it should be important that after starting out 5-for-9, Jankowski has gone 2-for-19, a measly .105. This certainly is saying that he’s terrible, it could just be a slump after an incredibly fast start, but it is something to keep an eye on.
This is September, and the season appears to be all but done. The team is 9.5 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers. While no one is expecting a serious run from this team (except for maybe the utmost die-hard of the die-hards), the final games on the schedule are a great opportunity for this young player to soak in every moment and earn some quality experience. Being that AJ Preller has a tendency to furiously deal players during the offseason (from what we’ve seen so far), Jankowski could easily find himself competing to be the everyday center fielder next season.
When Jankowski was called up from AAA El Paso, he was hitting .335 with 25 extra-base hits and 25 RBIs, good numbers for a lead-off hitter. He also had 32 stolen bases. Jankowski has all the makings of an effective lead-off hitter at the Major League level. He will just need time to get comfortable.
Keep an eye on his production thus far, though. A .105 batting average after 19 at-bats is enough to cause a need for concern.
If he can get it worked out, he will create excitement for next season. If he can’t, the fear that “another over-hyped prospect becoming a bust” will be the words used when people talk about Travis Jankowski.