San Diego Padres: Making A Case For Jankowski’s Roster Spot

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 31: Travis Jankowski
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 31: Travis Jankowski /

Another one of the San Diego Padres’ boatloads of former first-round draft picks, Travis Jankowski, has made steady improvements over the duration of his time in the Friars’ system. His time to shine may be arriving very soon.

Travis Jankowski was a first-round supplemental draft pick of the San Diego Padres in the 2012 MLB Draft. He played his college ball at a Division I school nestled cozily on the North Shore of Eastern Long Island, Stony Brook University.

Since making his debut in 2015, Jankowski hasn’t quite figured it all out. He’s certainly had some shining moments, both at the plate and in the field. But he hasn’t lived up to the potential he showed as a prospect coming through the Friars’ farm system.

His best season, by far, was 2015. He split the year between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso. His combined numbers for the year literally jump off of his page at you.

Jankowski turns heads in Padres’ organization

In 282 at-bats in San Antonio in 2015, Jankowski slashed .316/.395/.401 with 11 doubles, five triples, and 13 RBI (one HR too). In 97 at-bats with El Paso to finish out the AAA season, he put up high-school numbers.

His slash line of .392/.464/.495 to go along with six doubles and two triples show, in my opinion,  the type of heights Travis Jankowski could reach.

While they certainly don’t reflect a full season’s worth of stats or should they be invested in too highly in because of the thin air of most of the PCL ballparks, there was, no doubt, a ton of positives to build off of.

He made his MLB debut in August of that season. He was clearly overmatched (.211 average) at times, but he did hit two home runs and rack up 12 RBI. Obviously, he was on the right path.

The San Diego Padres reward Travis Jankowski with a roster spot.

The San Diego Padres rewarded Travis Jankowski for his hard work and obvious improvements with an Opening Day roster spot in 2016. While he wasn’t projected to be an everyday player, he was due to get tons of valuable experience at the major league level.

It had become clear that Jankowski had progressed as far as he could in the minor leagues. This time with the big club would ultimately make him a better player. Unfortunately, he may not have been “ready-for-prime-time” just yet.

While his season totals were far from terrible, they certainly weren’t what the Friars’ front-office had in mind after his huge 2015. There were some high points, like Jankowski’s month of August, that saw him slash .308/.374/.385 in 104 at-bats.

He ended the year with a .245 average and .645 OPS. While those aren’t great stats, the flashes of comfortability and advancements he made gave all parties involved a ton of confidence heading into last season.

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Injuries derail a possible breakout season for Travis Jankowski

Jankowski broke his foot early on in the season (April 14th) and never really made his way back to 100%. During his rehab, he was making strides and was able to make it back in time for the end of the Padres’ season.

This year, though, Travis Jankowski hopes to pick up right where he left off before injuries derailed what he hoped would be his breakout season.

If he can fight his way through camp and set himself apart from other viable options like Franchy Cordero and Matt Szczur, it’s possible we could see him as the Friars’ extra outfielder this season.

Next: Spring Notebook: Padres, The Team That Hits

If that were to be the case, I think Cordero is showing way too much promise to send him back to Triple-A. Matt Szczur may need to thrive this spring and make San Diego Padres’ manager Andy Green‘s end-of-camp decisions even tougher. This should be exciting.