Looking for outfield depth prior to the 2020 season, the Phillies signed veteran Travis Jankowski to a minor league deal. A six-year veteran, the 29-year-old Jankowski had never held down a full-time job or showed he could be a good hitter, but he was regarded as an above average defender who could play all three outfield spots.
.252/.364/.351, 1 HR, 10 RBI
Janky was called up to the majors at the end of May after Roman Quinn suffered a season-ending injury. Despite an awful baserunning mistake in one of his first appearances, thanks to his long hair and better-than-expected performance at the plate, he quickly became a fan favorite.
Due to a series of injuries throughout the Phillies’ outfield, he began to receive regular playing time in left and center, and he made the most of it at first. After a two-hit showing against the Marlins on July 18th, his OPS was .975.
Travis Jankowski is the most valuable center fielder the Phillies have had this year — and it’s not close.— Alex Carr (@AlexCarrMLB) July 19, 2021
Odubel Herrera: 62 G, 0.7 fWAR, .241/.292/.390, 84 wRC+, 14 BB, 45 K
Travis Jankowski: 33 G, 0.8 fWAR, .375/.474/.500, 167 wRC+, 9 BB, 8 K
He has been huge for the Phils.
Janky soon showed why he had never been able to hold down a full-time job before: He simply isn’t a good hitter. Given regular playing time in the second half, he soon became a liability at the plate.
Travis Jankowski went 7-for-11 with 4 RBI in the first series post-ASG, against the Marlins. He's gone 13-for-76 with 3 RBI since.— Paul (@paul_boye) September 22, 2021
Anyway he's off the injured list and back on the bench
Jankowski is a free agent, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Phillies brought him back on a minor league deal. You obviously don’t want him getting too much playing time, but if they want a reserve outfielder who brings speed and above average defense, he wouldn’t be a bad option.
Final grade: C
Jankowski is a great example of what happens when you have to rely on bench players for too long: They start to show you why they aren’t starters. Jankowski was a fun story for a while, but to nobody’s (except maybe Joe Girardi who kept playing him in the second half instead of younger, potentially better alternatives like Luke Williams or Matt Vierling) surprise, he wasn’t able to sustain his success.