Travis Demeritte is the Minor League version of Trevor Story. Like Story, he has been red hot to start the season, triple-slashing .435/.481/1.304, with 5 homers, and 2 steals in his first 6 games at High-A. Like Story, he absolutely crushes the ball when he makes contact, but has a history of struggling to make contact in the first place. And most importantly, like Story, he has a last name that is low hanging fruit for people that like to make corny puns. Don’t worry, I’ll spare you … this time. So why isn’t everyone hyping Demeritte to death like they are Story? Well, probably because nobody plays in a MiLB Fantasy League. But we do play in Dynasty Leagues, and now is the time to jump on the Demeritte bandwagon.
The Texas Rangers selected Demeritte, 2B, out of high school with the 30th overall pick in the 2013 draft. He showed his considerable talent right off the bat, putting up an .856 OPS, with 4 homers, and 5 steals in 39 Rookie ball games. It also came with a 28% K%. He then cranked up the power and strikeouts even more in 2014 at Single-A, jacking 25 homers with a 36.7% K%. Even with his considerable strikeout issues, the power surge made Demeritte an interesting sleeper candidate going into 2015. It turned out he would have bigger problems than strikeouts to deal with.
After displaying that same power/strikeout profile in the first 48 games of 2015, Demeritte got popped for taking the banned substance furosemide, a known masking agent for other drugs, and was suspended for 80 games. Coming into 2016, it was fair to wonder how much of that power was natural, and how much was drug induced. But as you know from my opener, we don’t have to wonder anymore, as the power is very real (or he found a better masking agent). He is still striking out 29.6% of the time, but if Story has taught us anything, it is that players with strikeout issues can succeed if they smack the crap outta the ball when they do make contact, and Demeritte does just that.
I give myself 3 demerits for not being higher on Demeritte this preseason (sorry, I couldn’t resist!), but any questions I had coming into this year have been answered. He is a boom or bust power hitting middle infielder with opportunistic speed. If you don’t mind some strikeout risk with your prospects, Demeritte is certainly one to jump on before word of his scorching start gets out.
By Michael Halpern
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)