MLB.com Columnist

Bernie Pleskoff

Scouting profile: Sam Travis

Scouting profile: Sam Travis

Background
Sam Travis was named the Illinois High School Player of the Year when he played at Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, Illinois. He hit 17 home runs, 17 doubles, three triples and had 75 RBIs with a .504 batting average. As a result, the Cincinnati Reds selected Travis in the 2011 Draft. He instead went on to stardom at Indiana University where he split time between first and third base.

Travis finished his career with 31 home runs and a .327 batting average. He and Chicago Cubs standout Kyle Schwarber formed a dynamic duo for the Hoosiers.

After a career where he was named an All American by several media outlets and was a First Team All-Big Ten and Big Ten Player of the Year, the Red Sox chose Travis in the second round of the 2014 Draft.

Hitting
Travis has soared through the Red Sox development program. In parts of two seasons, he has reached Double-A and has compiled a .310 career batting average in 848 plate appearances.

The right-handed hitting Travis is No. 11 on the Red Sox Top 30 Prospects list.

A pure hitter, Travis takes a very uncomplicated approach at the plate. I have watched him in the Arizona Fall League and I have been impressed with the barrel of the bat contact he makes using a short, measured swing. He has a very good eye at the plate and knows the strike zone well.

The 6-foot, 195-pound Travis has not shown much power in his brief career. Basically, he is content to go from gap to gap with line drives that come shooting off his bat. In 2014, Travis hit an amazing .416 off left-handed pitching. This year, he is hitting them at a .325 clip. He has improved against right-handers this year as well.

Travis does not generate much loft on the ball. As a result, he may be most useful as a hitter that can be counted upon to drive in runs and score runs, but not one that can routinely bust open a game with a three-run homer. But I think the homers will come.

Travis can be counted upon to make consistently solid contact with very limited strikeouts. He will take a pitcher deep in counts, see lots of pitches, work the count to his favor and swing at pitches he can drive. Travis does not waste at-bats. He does not get himself out. He will foul off pitches before he concedes to the pitcher. His bat control and ability to hit for average are tremendous assets.

Defense
Travis is built more like an outfielder than a first baseman. He could have a future in left field as well as being a corner infielder.

Travis does not have the softest or quickest hands or the best range as an infielder. However, he has worked hard on his defense and it is beginning to pay dividends. He looks more agile and is getting in better fielding position than in his past. He's an average defender and can hold his own on defense. His self-confidence and improvement are obvious.

Strengths
Travis is an outstanding and intelligent hitter. He can have the same type of career as James Loney if he remains at first base. While Loney is a better defender, Travis can hit his way to becoming a very credible player.

Weaknesses
Travis does not have the type of power or speed that can make him stand out among prospects. His defense may be limited. In short, he has to continue his solid gap hitting and high batting average to find success.

I find this interesting
Travis was named the 2015 Red Sox Minor League Offensive Player Of The Year. As humble as he is, he said he "knows he can do better."

The future for Travis
He can hit. When a player can hit, a place can be found. It remains to be seen if Travis can be a starting first baseman. But his bat will dictate his future.

Travis in a word
Contact

Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.