Oakland A's Prospect Q&A: Travis Banwart, SP

One of the promising arms selected by the Oakland A's in the 2007 draft was right-hander Travis Banwart, who was selected out of the well-respected Wichita State Shockers program in the fourth round. After posting a strong professional debut season last year, Banwart has put together another solid season in 2008. We caught-up with the right-hander over the weekend in Stockton.

Travis Banwart was the second starting pitcher selected by the Oakland A's in the 2007 draft. The right-hander had a distinguished career at Wichita State and was considered one of the most polished pitchers in last year's draft. After signing with the A's, Banwart was sent directly to a full-season affiliate, the Low-A Kane County Cougars. He threw 45 innings for the Cougars in 2007, posting a 2.60 ERA and striking-out 41 against only 10 walks.

Banwart returned to Kane County at the start of the 2008 season and posted similar numbers to his 2007 effort. In 41.2 innings, Banwart had a 2.38 ERA and he struck-out 41 against 11 walks. He was promoted to High-A Stockton in May and has made 12 appearances for the Ports since that time. Although he missed all of June with a sore shoulder, Banwart has still put together a solid effort for the Ports. In 50 innings, he has a 4.14 ERA in the hitter-friendly California League with 44 strike-outs. His walks have jumped to 28, but he is still holding hitters to a respectable .255 average.

On Thursday, Banwart weathered a poor first inning to earn his second win for Stockton. He allowed four runs and two homeruns in the first, but then followed that inning with four scoreless frames to keep the Ports in the game. Stockton wound-up rallying from the early deficit to win the game by a score of 9-4.

We caught-up with Banwart last weekend to find out how his shoulder was feeling, what he thought about his transition from Low-A to High-A and more…

OaklandClubhouse: How do you feel the transition has gone from Low-A to High-A?

Travis Banwart: It's gone quite well. I had a little minor set-back, though, in June. I had a little shoulder problem, but that's better now.

OC: Does the shoulder feel okay?

TB: It feels fine, now, yeah. Slowly but surely improving. It's getting late in the season.

OC: Was it sort of a tiring issue?

TB: Yeah. It was a minor issue, sort of a wearing down type deal.

OC: Was it a tough transition to go from college directly to a full-season affiliate in Low-A Kane County last season?

TB: I feel like I was well prepared for it from college. If I had been coming directly out of high school, I don't think I would have been ready. But college prepared me to go straight to Kane County last year.

OC: When the A's took your former teammate at Wichita State, Anthony Capra, in the draft this season, were you able to give him any advice?

TB: Just that they expect you to work hard, obviously. They are really laid-back here. It's nice. They treat you as an adult, which they should, and there aren't too many rules and responsibilities. They just want you to take care of yourself. He's told me that he likes it so far.

OC: What are the pitches that you feel are your best pitches right now?

TB: Right now, I am really concentrating on the fastball and the slider.

OC: In terms of location with those pitches?

TB: The slider is more the strike-out pitch and the fastball, I am focusing more on the location.

OC: What is your full pitching repertoire right now?

TB: Curveball, change-up, fastball and slider.

OC: Were there things that the A's changed about your delivery or your pitches during Instructs last year, or are you throwing pretty much the same way that you did in college?

TB: I was working on more of a two-seam fastball, and they also moved me to the other side of the rubber. I was on the third-base side and they moved me to the first-base side. So that was a little transition there.

OC: Was it hard to make an in-season switch from one team to another, to move cities and clubhouses?

TB: It is a little different, yeah. You kind of get comfortable in one place and all of a sudden you are moved. But everybody goes through it, so you feel like everyone is going through the same stuff, which makes it easier.

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