Nick Travieso had an up-and-down first full professional season. That doesnít mean the Cincinnati Reds pitching prospect didnít make great strides. The 2012 first-round pick learned a lot, which is ultimately more important than his 7-4 record or 4.63 ERA with the low-A Dayton Dragons.
Travieso celebrated his 20th birthday at the end of January, and heíll head into spring training looking to improve on his 2013 campaign. Heíll do so with a better grasp of his mechanics, and full confidence in his plus fastball and swing-and-miss slider.
ďWhen I came in this spring, I wasnít at my best. Iím not pleased about that. I struggled at the beginning, but now Iím starting to figure it out a little bit.
ďI guess I kind of tried to do a little too much. I tried to be more than what I am. I had to come around to realizing I got drafted for a reason. What worked for me in high school, Iím starting to go back to now. Iím working with Tony Fossas, my pitching coach. He said, ĎLook, whateverís comfortable for you, just go back to it and figure it out.Ď At the beginning of the year, I felt like I was trying to be too mechanical, trying to look like a pitcher instead of being a pitcher.Ē
ďThey did [tweak my delivery] a little bit, and tried to stick with it. I worked with it and kept telling myself it would get better. But then I worked with Reds pitching great Tom Browning. He said, ĎLook, all you really want to do is get in a rocking chair out there; get comfortableĎ. From then on ó basically from extended [spring training] Ėit was pretty much straight toward where I want to be.Ē
On his fastball and getting used to a five-day routine: ďMy fastball is a four-seam. I hardly ever throw a two-seam, unless I really need a ground ball, or if a guy is hitting my fastball pretty well. My velocity has changed a little bit since high school. Itís been a long process of getting used to pitching every five days and [stuff] like that. In high school it was every seven-eight days, so I had a pretty good break between starts. The whole five-day routine kind of took me a while to get used to. Now that itís the end of the season, Iím starting to really get used to it. I hate to have saved it for the end, but thatís how itís worked out.Ē
On velocity and location: ďWhen Iíve been feeling right, my fastball has been about 92-94 [mph]. Itís been up to 95 now and again. But itís not so much my velo. Itís more that when Iím feeling good, Iím locating well. Iím down in the zone and getting outs. Velocityís not really a big thing weíre looking at this year.
On his changeup; ďItís been a big development. Iíve worked with Mario Soto ó another Reds great ó on it. He was known for his changeup, so I kind of went to him in extended and said, ĎIím going to need a changeup now, can you help me work on it?í