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TeamBoone
03-01-2006, 09:37 PM
03/01/2006 1:00 PM ET
Chick ready to stick with Reds
Young righty eager to settle in, fine tune and move up
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Travis Chick's baby face and pleasant, open personality present a fresh, innocent image. He's only 21 and has the potential to emerge as a heartthrob someday in Cincinnati.
That's why it's so difficult to think of the Texas native as grizzled, worldly wise, or even savvy. But, as he forges ahead in his first Spring Training with the Reds, Chick certainly has seen his share of the world. Cincinnati marks the third franchise for which the highly touted right-hander has donned a uniform, and he's hoping it will be the last.

The Reds acquired Chick last summer in a July deal with that saw Joe Randa head west. The trade came less than a year after the Padres had picked him up from Florida in exchange for Ismael Valdez. So, when it comes to buying real estate or settling down in a certain town, Chick might not be the best person to consult. He's hoping now, though, that the only traveling he'll be doing is from Chattanooga to Louisville, ultimately ending his journey in the Queen City.

"You tell me," Chick laughed when asked if he could finally unpack his bags. "I'm trying. I made it a week shy of a year with San Diego. I guess it all depends on how well I do and who else wants me. It's a tough thing to go through. Everyone would like to stay with one team his whole career. That's not the way it falls sometimes. It's weird being so young and getting traded twice.

"You know the first time I got traded it was a big shock. I didn't even know I could be traded. But this time, when they told me I had to go talk to the manager, it hit me. It was a reality check."

The reality for the Reds, though, is that they may have found a gem in Chick, who was originally drafted in the 14th round (2002) by the Marlins. Despite his age, Chick has 87 career games on his resume and spent the entire 2005 season in Double-A, splitting time between Mobile and Chattanooga in the Southern League.

While Chick struggled at times with his stuff last year -- he was 4-11 with a 4.79 ERA in 27 starts -- he began to settle in once he arrived in Chattanooga. He went 2-2 with a 4.86 ERA in eight starts for the Lookouts, then headed for Instructional League, where the Reds hope the work he did will help him regain the measure of consistency that helped him to an 11-4 mark in 2004. He won't use the nomadic existence he has endured in recent years as a crutch for his performance, though.

"It's not his fault that he's moved around," said Grant Griesser, Cincinnati's assistant director of player development. "He's still a big-time prospect at a young age. He's a quick learner and he works hard. He's young and he's already competing at a fairly high level. We have high hopes for him. At 21 to be at Double-A, that's pretty impressive.

"I can't speak for him, but I'm sure it was difficult moving around like that. You have different sets of pitching coaches, new teammates, new organizations and new policies. There's no continuity. When you bounce around like that it's a challenge, but he's come through with a great attitude."

It helps that Chick has a solid, low-90's fastball that drops through the strike zone. His breaking ball has some downward bite on it, as well. While his changeup can use some work, Chick is aggressive on the mound and doesn't like to waste many pitches.

Chick, who grew up idolizing Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens (he is from Texas after all), says he just wants to fine tune everything this spring, from his delivery to his repertoire. He's likely headed back to Chattanooga, at least to start the year, but Griesser didn't rule out the possibility of his moving along quickly. Chick got started on Tuesday, throwing to live batters, and was pleased with the result.

"Last year, in my first camp with the Padres, the first time I pitched was against the Mariners and I was so nervous," Chick said on Wednesday. "I think I threw my first strike on the seventh pitch. But yesterday, in my first game, I felt like I belonged. The comfort level is different.

"I still just want to sit back, watch and learn. I don't want to go out and make a spectacle of myself. Remember, other than Homer [Bailey] I'm still the youngest guy here."

And it shows, even if there is more to him than his appearance.

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/app/news/article.jsp?ymd=20060301&content_id=44377&vkey=news_milb&fext=.jsp

OnBaseMachine
03-01-2006, 09:49 PM
where the Reds hope the work he did will help him regain the measure of consistency that helped him to an 11-4 mark in 2004.

Why, why, why do writers use minor league wins as a measuring stick for how good a pitcher is? Chick established himself as a solid prospect in 2004 because he posted good peripherals, not because of the 11 wins.

Thanks for the article, TB.

Superdude
03-02-2006, 12:33 AM
If record was a person, I'd shoot it! There's so many dumb articles about it and the fact that it pretty much is the main stat in the Cy Young race each year makes me wanna puke. Bartolo Colon wasn't even the best pitcher on his team last year and yet the golden 20 win mark was able to help him beat Johan Santana.


It helps that Chick has a solid, low-90's fastball

I thought Chick was supposed to be an upper 90's flame thrower? I guess he's a "solid" low 90's guy now.

M2
03-02-2006, 12:48 AM
I thought Chick was supposed to be an upper 90's flame thrower? I guess he's a "solid" low 90's guy now.

Good catch on that. From what I understand he wasn't even dialing 90 all that often at the end of last season. I'll be shocked if we don't find out something's sprung loose inside that boy's arm before too long.

Anyway, great timing by MLB.com to run that piece the day after the kid got shelled by a Korean team. He keeps that up and he'll be one of the first demotions in camp. Though it's nice to hear he has the good face. That'll surely get a lot of batters out.

harangatang
03-02-2006, 03:55 AM
"where the Reds hope the work he did will help him regain the measure of consistency that helped him to an 11-4 mark in 2004."

Eric Milton went 14-6 in 2004, it's a big deal you know.

Caveat Emperor
03-02-2006, 04:52 AM
And now we present "Reading Between the Lines":



It helps that Chick has a solid, low-90's fastball that drops through the strike zone.

TRANSLATION: The previous regime was enamored with his ability to throw a sinking fastball. Any previous ability he had to throw hard or in the mid-upper 90s is no longer there due to injury that the Reds have not yet discovered and/or instructions to throw said sinking fasthabll


His breaking ball has some downward bite on it, as well.

TRANSLATION: His breaking ball has a tendency to hang and cannot be counted on to produce strikeouts.


While his changeup can use some work,

TRANSLATION: His changeup is nonexistent and likely ensures a career as a middle reliever.


Chick is aggressive on the mound and doesn't like to waste many pitches.

TRANSLATION: Travis Chick pitches to contact.

Thank you for playing, please remember to tip your wait staff.

Aronchis
03-02-2006, 05:17 AM
Chick never had a upper to mid-90's fastball, so you don't have to worry about that.

IslandRed
03-02-2006, 12:50 PM
Good catch on that. From what I understand he wasn't even dialing 90 all that often at the end of last season. I'll be shocked if we don't find out something's sprung loose inside that boy's arm before too long.


I was kind of wondering the same thing. The Travis Chick I read about in last year's BP book, a prospect given high marks by scouts and statheads alike, didn't much resemble the pitcher we got in July. I'm hoping that it can be traced to being overpromoted and he can be straightened out. But when a guy noted for good stuff starts dealing average stuff, your scenario is probably right.

KronoRed
03-02-2006, 01:02 PM
And now we present "Reading Between the Lines":

:lol:

Thanks CE

flyer85
03-02-2006, 01:13 PM
... maybe in about 3 years.

Superdude
03-02-2006, 05:49 PM
I'm starting to think that keeping Randa and picking up two draft picks would have been the way to go. It looks like we've got a future average middle reliever and a fringy back rotation starter.

M2
03-02-2006, 05:55 PM
I'm starting to think that keeping Randa and picking up two draft picks would have been the way to go. It looks like we've got a future average middle reliever and a fringy back rotation starter.

If they're even that good.

Chip R
03-02-2006, 06:06 PM
I'm starting to think that keeping Randa and picking up two draft picks would have been the way to go. It looks like we've got a future average middle reliever and a fringy back rotation starter.

No. DanO would have been under too much temptation to re-sign him.

corkedbat
03-02-2006, 06:22 PM
I know that its unlikely to be Chick, but I'm so ready for a Reds farm hand to come out of no where an become a surprise effective starter. I've been a fan since '67 and I can probably count the times its happened on both hands with several fingers left over.

Farmhand, Free Agent, Trade...I don't care!!!!!!!!! I want a rotation where Harang and Claussen are considered 4 & 5, not 1 & 2. For, once, I want five solid starters! AAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

C'mon WK, just get it done!