The 2021 season was Travis Jankowski's first year with the Philadelphia Phillies. Manager Joe Girardi mainly used him as a backup outfielder. Overall, Jankowski's 2021 season wasn't bad for a backup player, but if he wishes to see more game time, he has some improvements to make.
Jankowski took the field for the Phillies 76 times, starting in 30 of these appearances. The Lancaster native hit for an average of .252, with an OPS of .715. Historically, Jankowski isn't known for his hitting capability, but more so his fielding and baserunning.
The Stony Brook product was brought in as a pinch-runner four times this season, and stole five bases. This isn't abnormal of him, as for the previous three seasons, he had only stolen a combined total of nine bases. However, Jankowski had stolen up to 30 bases in the past, so there is a ceiling for his baserunning that can still be hit.
On the topic of fielding, Jankowski did his job as a backup outfielder, ending the season with a fielding percentage of 1.000. Although his dWAR of -0.4 leaves much to be desired.
When he wasn't playing in the majors, Jankowski spent time with the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, where he'd play 19 games batting .252 and sporting an OPS of .826.
Throughout the season, there were several issues with Jankowski which will need to be smoothed out if he wishes to see more playing time on a contending team like Philadelphia.
A specific instance that put Jankowski under a lot of scrutiny was when the outfielder failed to react when he got caught stealing in the bottom of the ninth in a game against the Washington Nationals in June. The play itself had people scratching their heads because Jankowski stood in the base paths and watched Nationals catcher Alex Avila run from behind home plate over to him to tag him out.
All of this is to say that even though Jankowski is 30-years-old and entering the second leg of his career, there is still time to change the way he plays the game. Looking through previous seasons, Jankowski can be one of the better backup options for the Phillies as he is historically consistent on defense and one of the faster members of the roster.
As Jankowski enters arbitration, Inside the Phillies predicted that the club might elect to not bring him back. Should Philadelphia extend an offer to the Lancaster native, though, he'll really have to prove himself in 2022 by fixing all of the issues that plagued him during 2021.
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