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Monday, September 1, 2014

Nick Travieso: Cincinnati Reds' Fast Tracked Pitching Prospect

The Cincinnati Reds have had good fortune developing their own starting pitching in recent years, churning out the likes of Mike Leake, Tony Cingrani, Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto. There is another hurler emerging who appears to be on that same track, and his name is Nick Travieso.

The right-hander attended Archbishop McCarthy High School in Southwest Ranches, Florida. Poised to attend the University of Miami, his designation as the 14th overall selection in the first round of the 2012 draft by the Reds was enough to make him change his mind and start his professional career.

Like many players fresh out of high school, Travieso started slowing going 0-2 with a 4.71 ERA in eight 2012 starts in the Arizona Rookie League. He won seven games the following years but has truly blossomed in 2014.

Playing for the Single-A Dayton Dragons, the 20-year-old is 14-5 with a 3.03 ERA in 26 starts. He has struck out 114 in 142.2 innings while permitting just 123 hits and 44 walks. He has been particularly fiery hot of late, as evidenced by his 7-0 record and 1.22 ERA in his last nine starts. More information on his statistics can be found here and here.

This past offseason, Travieso was gracious enough to answer some questions. Keep reading on for more on this prospect who seems to be on the fast track for the Cincinnati starting rotation.

Nick Travieso Interview:

Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: Growing up I idolized Roger Clemens. I loved how he went after every hitter regardless of who was at the plate. He always had fire in him, even when he knew his career was coming to an end.

What went into your decision to go pro opposed to attending the University of Miami?: Throughout high school I had all intentions of attending the University of Miami. I knew I wanted to play college ball there since I started playing coach pitch at the age of seven. The "U" was part of my home, and therefore a part of me. It wasn't until I got drafted that things got a little tricky. As much as I wanted to attend Miami, playing baseball was where my heart was. My family and I sat down and talked about it, and I decided that I wanted to make a living doing what I love. That’s when I decided I would play professionally for the Reds.

Can you describe the kind of attentions you got from teams leading up to the draft?: Everything was sort of in the air. It wasn't like I was getting more attention from one team than the others. I had heard that some liked me and some didn't. I wasn't sure where or even if I would get drafted. I always just tried to go out and play my game and not worry about the scouts or the draft.

What pitches do you throw and which do you think you need to work on the most?: I'm a fastball, slider and changeup guy. My changeup is definitely the pitch I need to work on most mainly because I hardly ever threw it before pro ball. In high school all you need is two pitches. But when you move to the next level you need to be able to have a feel for a third pitch, and I'm in the process of that now.

Who has been the most influential coach or manager you have had, and why?: In pro ball so far the most influential coach I've had is the Dayton pitching coach Tony Fossas. He pitched in the big leagues for 12 years but what a lot of people don't know is that he spent just as long in the minors. I think it's great to have a coach like that who knows what you are going through because he was there one day. He's had the biggest impact on my professional career on and off the field.

Do you follow the major league transactions? If so, do you a lot of thinking of how they might impact you?: I like to keep up with it a little over social media, but not extensively. I wouldn't say that I think about how they would impact my career but I guess sometimes you have to. When your organization is making moves up top, it's kind of exciting to know that one day possibly you could be getting moved up to fill a spot.

What has been your proudest moment as a professional player?: My proudest moment thus far would probably be when my parents came out to watch my first game in Dayton. I didn't get the win, but I pitched well and it just made it a whole lot better seeing them out in the stands like they have since day one back in tee ball.

What are some things you like to do away from baseball?: I consider myself a professional fisherman in the offseason—haha. I usually go out almost every morning and go fishing whether it be in a lake or even in the ocean. It's always a fun and enjoyable experience every time I go even if I don't catch anything. I just like to go out and relax and not have to worry about anything else. It's kind of my escape from baseball.

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