Jankowski playing for the San Diego Padres in 2016
|San Diego Padres – No. 16|
|Born: June 15, 1991|
|August 21, 2015, for the San Diego Padres|
|MLB statistics |
(through 2018 season)
|Runs batted in||42|
Travis Paul Jankowski (born June 15, 1991) is an American professional baseball outfielder for the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball (MLB). Jankowski played college baseball at Stony Brook University, leading the Seawolves to an underdog College World Series appearance, and became a first-round draft pick for the Padres in the 2012 MLB Draft.
Jankowski graduated from Lancaster Catholic High School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 2009. He enrolled at Stony Brook University. As a sophomore for the Stony Brook Seawolves baseball team in 2011, Jankowski earned first-team All-America East Conference honors after hitting .355, setting a school record for stolen bases and going the entire season without an error. That summer, Jankowski was invited to play for the Bourne Braves, where he led the Cape Cod Baseball League in hits, runs, and triples, earning league most valuable player honors.
In 2012, Jankowski had a break out year, breaking his previous school record for stolen bases and setting school records in batting average, hits, runs, and triples. In leading the Seawolves to their first ever College World Series appearance, Jankowski earned First Team All-American and America East Player of the Year honors. In 2017, Jankowski was inducted into the Stony Brook Hall of Fame.
Jankowski was drafted in the first round of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft by the San Diego Padres; he was signed by the Padres' Northeast Scouting Director, Jim Bretz. After just two games with the AZL Padres, he was promoted to the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the Padres' Class A affiliate, for the remainder of the 2012 season. With the TinCaps, Jankowski hit .282 with 17 stolen bases in 59 games. He spent the 2013 season with the Class A-Advanced Lake Elsinore Storm where he batted .286/.356/.355 with one home run, 38 RBIs, and 71 stolen bases in 122 games.
Jankowski began the 2014 as the center fielder for the Double-A San Antonio Missions, but he broke his wrist in a collision with the outfield fence in April. He returned in July with the Rookie League club and worked his way back to the Missions over the season. Jankowski again began 2015 with the Missions, but was promoted to the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas in July. He batted .335 with one home runs, 25 RBIs, and a .413 on-base percentage between the two clubs while playing center field.
Jankowski was promoted to the Padres from the Chihuahuas on August 19, 2015. He replaced Will Venable who had been traded to the Texas Rangers the previous day. As the starting center fielder in his MLB debut in a 9–3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Petco Park on August 21, Jankowski singled off John Lackey in each of his first two plate appearances, drove in a run with his second hit and scored on Yangervis Solarte's two-run fifth-inning homer. He is the first Stony Brook Seawolves position player in the majors and was the first Padre since Tony Gwynn to record at least two hits and a RBI in his big-league debut. Jankowski played 34 games with the Padres in 2015, including 21 starts in center and six starts in right, and hit .211 with two home runs.
Jankowski made the Padres 25-man roster out of spring training in 2016 and was mostly used early in the year as a late-inning defensive replacement and pinch-hitter, recording only 62 plate appearances before June 19. On that date, regular center fielder Jon Jay suffered a fractured forearm, sending him to the disabled list. Jankowski then became the Padres regular center fielder until the late September call up of Manuel Margot. Jankowski stole home plate twice within the month of August 2016. His first came when Wil Myers was caught in a rundown between first and second base at the back end of a double steal attempt in the eighth inning of a 7–3 home victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on August 1. An initial ruling of fielder's choice was changed to a stolen base the following day. Jankowski stole home again when he broke for the plate on Eric Fryer's return throw to Antonio Bastardo in the eighth inning of a 4–0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on August 10. Jankowski finished the 2016 season with a .245/.332/.313 batting line and 30 stolen bases in 131 games played, including 82 starts.
Jankowski was the Padres Opening Day left fielder in 2017, but he fouled a ball off his foot on April 14, resulting in what was initially diagnosed as a deep bone bruise. After trying to play through the injury, he was eventually diagnosed with a hairline fracture and moved to the disabled list on April 24. Jankowski began a rehab assignment in July and was activated and optioned to El Paso in August, as José Pirela had taken over in left field for the Padres. Jankowski returned to the big league club after the Chihuahuas ended their playoff run in mid-September. Hampered by the injury early in the year, he finished 2017 with a .187 average in 87 Major League plate appearances, and a .268/.358/.325 line for 179 plate appearances in the minors.
Jankowski began the 2018 season with El Paso, but was recalled to the Padres at the end of April when Wil Myers joined Hunter Renfroe on the disabled list. Jankowski had a breakout May, making 21 starts in the outfield while moving into the lead-off role and ending the month with a .305 average and .371 on-base percentage. He credited his batting coaches with a new approach at the plate that lowered his strikeouts. Jankowski stayed with the Padres for the rest of the year as a fourth outfielder and defensive replacement, making 29 starts in right field, 27 starts in center, and 22 starts in left, and appearing in a total of 117 games. At the plate, he batted .259 with a .332 on-base percentage and 4 home runs, setting or matching career highs. He stole a team-high 24 bases at a 77% success rate.
Jankowski and his wife, Lindsay, were married in 2017.
Jankowski goes by the nickname "Fred" or "Freddy", using it for his Twitter handle and on his Player's Weekend uniform. The childhood nickname refers to Fred Rogers and Jankowski's daily routine viewing of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
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- Whisler, John (June 5, 2015). "Missions' Jankowski a sure catch in center field". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
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