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2021 report card: Travis Jankowski

Janky was a fun story...for a bit

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.

The stats

.252/.364/.351, 1 HR, 10 RBI

The good

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.

The bad

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.

The future

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.

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