#6 Travis Jankowski - Texas Rangers OF
Travis Jankowski was a spring training invitee that wasn't supposed to make the Opening Day roster. Bruce Bochy told him to go ahead and bring his stuff to Arlington for the two exhibition games before the regular season was to get started. Somewhere along the way, the longhaired speedster ended up on the roster and has played a pivotal role for the Texas Rangers this season. Jankowski has proven to be well worth the one-year, $1.25 million contract.
Leftfield was a position that desperately needed attention. The Rangers had the worst left field numbers of any MLB team in 2022. With the majority of the dollars going toward the starting rotation in the offseason, no big bat was added to the lineup. Instead, CY went with the shotgun approach and brought in several different players in the spring to see if any of them could get hot and fill the spot on the cheap.
Jankowski isn't that guy, but he has stuck around, and despite being sidelined for a short time period with a leg injury, he has been a productive member of both the offense and defense. Offensively, the left-hand hitter has 103 plate appearances, is hitting .289/.373/.389, has seven doubles, one triple, no home runs, has scored 17 runs, 11 runs batted in, stolen six bases, and has a 113 OPS+.
While these numbers aren't going to get him national attention, they are well above the 2012 first round draft picks totals over his last four seasons. Playing for five different teams (San Diego, Cincinnati, Philidelphia, New York Mets, and Seattle) across those four lowly years, Jankowski struggled mightily at the plate. In 161 games and 262 plate appearances, he slashed .211/.321/.269, had six doubles, two triples, one home run, scored 42 runs, drove in 12, stole 12 bases, and had a 65 OPS+.
Defensively Jankowski has been brilliant, as he can, and has played all three outfield positions at a high level. He has filled a role that some (myself included) had hoped Bubba Thompson would have. Jankowski might end up progressing back to his mean as the season grows longer, or perhaps he has figured something out with the Rangers. Either way, the boost that he has given the club through the first two and a half months is undeniable.