Pennsylvania native and lifelong Phillies fan, Travis Jankowski, is the frontrunner for their centerfielder spot.
Born and raised in Lancaster, just 90 minutes up the road from Citizen’s Bank Park, Travis Jankowski grew up following the Philadelphia Phillies.
Following a collegiate career at Stony Brook, Jankowski started his professional career on the west coast after being drafted by the San Diego Padres. After parts of six seasons with the Padres – in which Jankowski hit .241 with eight home runs and 42 RBI in 334 games – Jankowski was immediately traded to the Reds. He went just 1-for-17 with seven strikeouts in the shortened 2020 season.
A dream came true for the then-29-year-old Jankowski when the Phillies inked him to a minor league contract and invite to spring training in February of this year. When Roman Quinn went down for the season with a torn Achilles tendon on May 30, Jankowski was called up to the Phillies. Call it nerves or just an over-anxiousness to make a play with his beloved Phillies, Jankowski got caught stealing third in the ninth inning as a pinch-runner in his first appearance with the team.
Jankowski brushed off the miscue that drew the wrath of Phillies faithful in attendance and went on to record nine hits in his first 26 at-bats. Blessed with excellent speed, Jankowski can track the ball with the best of them in the outfield and wreak havoc on the bases.
With Odubel Herrera placed on the injured list on July 9, Jankowski has seen more playing time and has capitalized on the opportunity. He has raised his batting average to .375 with four stolen bases and 13 runs scored in 46 at-bats. In fact, Jankowski was the star of the game on July 16, going 3-for-3 game with four RBI against the Marlins.
It’s difficult to say what will happen when Herrera gets off the injured list, but Jankowski is doing his job filling in. He’s currently considered a “frontrunner” for the centerfield job.
As a boy who grew up watching Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Chase Utley lead the Phillies to the 2008 World Series, Jankowski hopes he can be a key contributor to the next Phillies championship team. That would make the dream come full circle for the 30-year-old Lancaster native.