The Detroit Tigers have depleted the depth of their farm system through trades over the years, but the Tigers do have a few bright spots with one being second baseman Devon Travis.
Travis emerged as a top prospect in the Tigers organization after being named the MiLB Offensive Player of the Year in 2013. Travis split the season between Class A West Michigan Whitecaps and Class A Advanced Lakeland Flying Tigers, hitting .351 with 16 home runs and 76 RBIs. He also drew 53 walks, posted an on base percentage of .418, had a slugging percentage of .518 and stole 22 bases.
The big season has helped Travis rise up the Tigers’ prospect rankings. Baseball America ranked Travis as the second-best prospect in the Tigers organization entering the 2014 season. He also ranked as the fifth-best player under the age of 25 for the Tigers and was recognized as having the best strike-zone discipline in the organization.
With the acquisition of Ian Kinsler over the offseason, the Tigers are set at the second base position. Travis’ Spring Training invitation is likely a reward for his excellent play during the 2013 season as he will surely start out the year in the Minors. Even though Travis ranks near the top of the Tigers’ prospect list, he is still behind Hernan Perez on the organizational depth chart. Perez saw playing time at second base for the Tigers last season as a rookie and would be a leading candidate to replace Kinsler should something go wrong. The Tigers also have utility infielder Steve Lombardozzi on their roster, and he is more than capable at idling in at second base.
The Tigers can afford to take the process slow and allow Travis to develop in the minors because of their current depth at second base. There is little chance that Travis makes the Opening Day roster, but a big season could warrant a September call-up or put Travis in a position to make the team next season.