Ex-Palm Beach Central star Devon Travis signs pro contract with Detroit Tigers, will forgo senior year at FSU
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
by Matt Porter
Nearly a decade ago, Devon Travis had 'future star' written all over him while playing for the national champion East Boynton Beach Little League All-Stars.
After starring for Palm Beach Central and Florida State, he'll try to shine for the Detroit Tigers.
Travis signed a rookie deal Tuesday with Detroit, which took him in the 13th round of last month's MLB amateur draft. Travis fully expected to return to FSU for his senior season.
"As soon as I got drafted, I said there was no way I was going to sign," said Travis, 21. "Things ended up heating up a little bit. I don't think I can pass up this opportunity."
Travis, who would not disclose his bonus amount, was the Tigers' highest unsigned draft pick. According to Baseball America, Detroit has $222,000 left in its signing bonus pool and could spend $326,965 without losing draft picks under baseball's new collective bargaining agreement. It may elect to use part of that money on unsigned 18th- and 20th-round picks.
Florida State coach Mike Martin compares Travis to former Seminoles second baseman Luis Alicea, who played 13 seasons in the majors; but Travis, listed at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, thinks of himself as a younger Dustin Pedroia. He did a fair impression of both last season.
From the No. 2 spot in the lineup, he hit .325 with eight home runs and 44 RBI while playing shimmering defense. At the College World Series, he batted a nation-best .563 (9-for-16) and made the all-tournament team.
Before moving to Wellington for high school, he was a star on the East Boynton Little League team that captured the hearts of Palm Beach County with its run to the championship game of the 2003 Little League World Series.
With his baby face and megawatt smile, Travis pitched, caught and played second base. He led all batters with a .647 average in six games. East Boynton won the U.S. championship but lost to international champion Japan in the World Series final.
After overcoming a back injury that caused him to miss his sophomore year at Palm Beach Central, Travis batted .467 with 26 RBI and 23 steals as a senior. He was The Palm Beach Post's Large Schools Player of the Year.
After spending the July 4 holiday with his family, he'll report to Norwich, Conn. to play with the short-season Class A Connecticut Tigers. In September, he'll head to Lakeland for instructional camp.
"They told me that I'm someone they believe that can play in the big leagues," Travis said of the Tigers. "I wouldn't think about giving up another year at Florida State if I didn't believe them."