Travis Jankowski is having fun with a career-best season with the Texas Rangers. Enjoying a platoon position on a first-place workforce, the 32-year-old left-handed-hitting outfielder is slashing .319/.407/.405 with a 133 wRC+ in 190 plate appearances. Pace and protection are his calling playing cards. Jankowski has swiped 15 baggage in 16 makes an attempt, and racked up 5 Defensive Runs Saved and 4 Outs Above Common whereas seeing time in any respect three fly-chaser positions.
His monitor file coming into the 2023 marketing campaign was considerably spotty. Drafted forty fourth total in 2012 by San Diego out of Stony Brook, he spent 2015-19 with the Padres, then bounced from the Reds to the Phillies to the Mets to the Mariners earlier than becoming a member of the Rangers this previous January. Previous to inking a free agent take care of the Chris Young-constructed membership, his cumulative hit whole was 252, whereas his wRC+ over 1,215 plate appearances was an unbecoming 77. By and huge, he’d been a spare half whose efficiency hadn’t merited constant taking part in time.
A confluence of well being and the suitable alternative has helped gasoline the Lancaster, Pennsylvania native’s breakthrough.
“It’s been discovering a great spot with an excellent supervisor and an excellent lineup,” Jankowski defined when the Rangers visited Boston earlier this month. “I’ve been capable of carve out a task, and an enormous a part of that’s being snug. 9 seasons in, I do know what to anticipate on the massive league stage. Past that, it’s simply clicking for me proper now.”
Jankowski went on to quote a trio of accidents, two of which adopted the one years wherein he’s logged 300-plus plate appearances. In 2017, he suffered a damaged foot; in 2019, he broke a wrist. Final season included an ill-timed go to to the IL as effectively. The speedster broke a knuckle in late Could, then wasn’t capable of finding agency footing after rejoining the Mets in mid-July. He was subsequently designated for task, claimed off waivers by the Mariners, DFA’d once more, after which reclaimed by the Mets, who despatched him to Triple-A. As Jankowski defined, “Getting back from an harm mid-season is fairly robust.”
Seven weeks after the Rangers promoted Chris Younger to Government Vice President and Common Supervisor, the Princeton graduate and erstwhile big-league hurler shrewdly signed Jankowski to a one-year, $1.25 million contract. For the participant, coming to Texas made a whole lot of sense.
“I noticed the strikes they had been making and knew the route they needed to go in,” stated Jankowski. “That was an enormous promoting level for me. Seeing Nathan Eovaldi and Jacob deGrom signal, and Corey Seager and Marcus Semien having come over final yr, I knew they had been on the market making an attempt to win. Bruce Bochy was right here as effectively, and for me an old-school supervisor is an effective factor. In the event you have a look at the kind of participant I’m analytically… I don’t suppose that’s the best definition of who I’m. Pace off the bench and being a very good defensive outfielder is what’s saved me across the massive leagues, and an old-school supervisor can see the worth in that greater than a pc can.”
That Jankowski hit his solely dwelling run of the season the day earlier than I spoke to him at Fenway Park qualifies as an odd coincidence. Going deep has by no means been an enormous half his sport — the July 3 dinger was simply his tenth as an enormous leaguer — and he’s happy to be on a workforce the place that isn’t an expectation.
“The hitting coaches right here aren’t making an attempt to show guys into one thing they’re not,” defined Jankowski. “I’m not an influence man. I by no means have been, and I don’t suppose I ever shall be. I truly instructed them on day one, ‘Pay attention, if you’d like me to hit 15-20 dwelling runs this yr, that’s not the participant I’m.’ They’re OK with that. The Padres needed me to attempt to hit for some extra energy in 2017 — that was the yr I acquired damage a couple of weeks into the season — nevertheless it didn’t correlate effectively. I believe I had three dwelling runs in spring coaching, however my strikeouts most likely tripled, so it simply wasn’t a very good risk-reward for me.”
Six years later, merely being himself is working simply nice. The long-maned outfielder has by no means been higher.
“Right here, it’s simply, ‘Hey, be you. It’s why you’re within the massive leagues,’” Jankowski stated. “I believe that’s one of many causes I’ve been having success this yr. Together with being wholesome and having discovered a very good area of interest, I’m simply specializing in doing what I do finest. Once more, that’s offering velocity and taking part in good protection. It’s been going effectively.”