Travis Jankowski

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Travis Paul Jankowski

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Biographical Information[edit]

Travis Jankowski was a supplemental first-round pick in the 2012 amateur draft.

Jankowski hit .471 as a high school senior and made All-State. In 2010, he hit .262/.345/.301 with 13 steals in 14 tries and fielded .988 as a college freshman. He improved to .355/.419/.457 with 30 steals in 34 attempts and no errors as a sophomore. He was All-America East Conference in the outfield. He had finished second in the conference in average and first in steals. He tied for 14th in NCAA Division I in swipes. He then put on a show in the Cape Cod League. With the Bourne Braves, he hit .329/.409/.445 with 31 runs, 7 triples, 15 steals and 22 RBI in 44 games. He was 6th in the Cape Cod League in average, tied for 6th in RBI, led in runs, led in triples, led in hits (57), tied for 3rd in swipes, placed 9th in slugging and was 8th in OBP. He was named MVP of the Cape Cod League that summer. Baseball America named him the #10 prospect in the top fall circuit, second behind Victor Roache among outfielders.

Returning to Stony Brook for his junior year, he remained on a rampage and was .411/.476/.621 with 66 runs, 9 triples and 34 steals (in 40 tries) after 56 games. He was named America East Player of the Year. He was in the top 10 nationally in several departments. In the 2012 College World Series Regionals, he got four hits and two runs in the finale as Stony Brook upset Louisiana State University to become only the second 4th-seeded Regionals team to make it to the College World Series. It was Stony Brook's first CWS trip. The San Diego Padres chose Travis with the 44th pick of the 2012 amateur draft. The choice was compensation for the loss of Aaron Harang to free agency and was one of four San Diego first-round choices, following Max Fried and Zach Eflin and preceding Walker Weickel. He was the lone college player in that quartet. He was also the first first-rounder in Stony Brook history and the second first-round choice in America East Conference annals, following Carlos Pena by 14 years.

Jankowski soon signed and made his pro debut on June 27, 2012 with the AZL Padres. After two games with the club, he was promoted to the Fort Wayne TinCaps. He played 59 games there, hitting .282 while playing exclusively in center field. In 2013, he moved to the Lake Elsinore Storm of the California League, where he played 122 games and hit .286 while scoring 89 runs. His 2014 season season was cut short by injuries, as he played only 46 games, including rehabilitation stints in the Arizona League and with the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League. He had 29 games for the San Antonio Missions of the AA Texas League, hitting .240. He was back with San Antonio at the start of 2015 where he hit .316 in 73 games. On July 22nd, he was promoted to the El Paso Chihuahuas, in the Pacific Coast League, reaching the AAA level for the first time. In 24 games for the lapdogs, he hit a scorching .392 and scored 19 runs to earn a call-up to the big league Padres.

He also was the starting center fielder for Team USA when they won Silver in the 2015 Pan American Games, hitting .385/.400/.462 with 7 runs and 5 RBI in 8 games, while playing error-free defense. He had a four-hit game against Puerto Rico, homered off Colombia's Dumas García and scored the winning run in the semifinals against Cuba, singling off Yoanni Yera, stealing second and coming home on a hit by Andy Parrino. His .414 average in the round-robin was 5th, between Rene Tosoni and Anthony García.

Travis made his major league debut on August 21, 2015, going 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI as the starting centerfielder against the St. Louis Cardinals; he hit 9th that day, after pitcher Andrew Cashner. He hit his first big league home run on September 13th in the 2nd inning of a 10-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants; it was a solo shot off Mike Leake and at first he had not realized the ball had gone out so he ran all out. He had hit only three home runs as professional before that, so had not had much time to work on his home run trot. In 34 games, playing center and right field, he hit .211 with 2 homers and 12 RBIs.

He made the team's opening day roster as a back-up outfielder in 2016. He played relatively little until mid-May, not starting a single contest in April, but he gradually received more playing time as the Padres realized they were not going to make the postseason and began shedding some of their veteran players, including OFs Matt Kemp and Melvin Upton, in order to give youngsters a look. In August, Travis made the news for reviving an old-school play: the steal of home. He pulled off the daring move twice in a span of ten days; the first, on August 1st, was more of a crime of opportunity as he scored while teammate Wil Myers was caught in a rundown, but the second involved malice aforethought. On August 10th, he took off against the battery of Antonio Bastardo and Eric Fryer of the Pittsburgh Pirates knowing that with two outs and lefthanded batter Corey Dickerson at the plate against a lefty, he had a high chance of being stranded on third base; so he started running home just as Fryer was tossing the ball back to his pitcher. A stunned Bastardo threw back to Fryer immediately, but his throw was low and off-target, allowing Travis to slide safely as Fryer could not handle the relay. A decent throw would have got him easily, but the essence of the play is that the element of surprise is such that the defensive team reacts poorly, which is exactly what happened. He hit .245 in 131 games that season as San Diego's primary centerfielder; he stole 30 bases, but hit just 17 extra-base hits, 13 of them doubles.

His playing time went down significantly in 2017, as he appeared in just 27 games in the majors, hitting .187 and slugging .213. But he was back as a quasi-regular in 2018, seeing time at all three outfield spots, with right field his most common home. In 117 games, he hit .259 with 4 homers an 17 RBIs, scoring 45 runs and stealing 24 bases. But again, he could not hold on to his job the following year as in 2019 he appeared in just 25 games, hitting .182 with no extra-base hits. Following the season, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for international bonus slot money and again only saw limited usage in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, appearing in 16 games, but getting just 15 at-bats, with only 1 hit. He did score three runs and steal two bases, as pinch-running was one of his duties. He did appear in the postseason for the first time, stealing a base as a pinch-runner but failing to score as the Reds were swept by the Atlanta Braves in the Wild Card Series.

Though they were born just 2 years and 250 miles apart, in the same state, and played in the majors at the same time -- while owning a relatively rare surname -- Travis and contemporary Jordan Jankowski do not appear to be related.

Notable Achievements[edit]


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