Prospect #22 - RHP Travis Schlichting

Proving that baseball scouting is more an art than a science, you have the case of Travis Schlichting, the Tampa Bay Rays fourth round selection as an infielder in 2003. He was found wanting. Traded to the Angels and switched to the mound but they took a look and said, "N thanks." Then the Dodgers picked him up, dusted him off and feel they have found a gem in someone else's dumpster.

Schlichting was both an infielder and pitcher while in high school at Round Rock, Tex. The Tampa Bay Rays gave him the largest signing bonus in his round (No. 4) and a $100,000 scholarship. Baseball America liked what they saw and reported that he would be the Tampa Bay third base candidate in 2007, but a scout noted, "We'll see how far his bat carries him but if that doesn't work out, he has a real chance as a pitcher because he throws 89-90 with sink."

The Rays wound up trading him to the Angels in December 2005 for catcher Josh Paul. His new team liked his arm more than his bat so put him back on the mound but even though he wasn't scored on in five games in the Arizona Rookie League in 2006, the were apparently not impressed and he was released.

He caught on with the Independent League Kansas City T-Bones for whom he was 2-1, 5.29 with 47 strikeouts and 29 walks in 51 innings.

While he was a high school senior in Texas, the Dodgers were crosschecking one of his teammates at Round Rock High. Logan White, on hand to watch infielder John Danks, saw Schlichting pitch and made a mental note of him.

"He hit 91 on the speed gun with a good, sinking fastball," White remembered. I liked him. He was tall and lanky but was mostly used as a shortstop."

With the Tampa Bay organization, he played for Princeton in 2003, Columbus in 2004, Southwest Michigan Devil Rays in 2005 and the Cedar Rapids in 2006 and was only mildly successful. He finished his four years with a .250 average, little power and 91 runs batted in.

While pitching for the T-Bones in 2007, White, noticed and remembered him clearly, dispatching South-Texas area scout Chris Smith to look him over. Despite a 5.29 ERA, 72 hits in 51 innings and 11 wild pitches with the T-Bones, Smith liked what he saw, signed him and sent him to extended spring training.

"He really worked on his delivery in extended camp," Assistant General Manager, Player Development De Jon Watson said "He got some consistency to his delivery and his arm slot, plus his velocity started elevating. He is a quality guy and a pleasant surprise."

They jumped the righthander directly to Jacksonville in May. His hits dropped to less than one an inning and the walks slowed from 29 in 51 innings with Kansas City to 18 in 59.2 innings with the Suns. He finished with a 6-4 record in relief and a 3.77 ERA over 33 appearances. They quickly protected him by placing him on their 40-man major league roster.

He pitched very well in the Arizona Fall League, working 13 games and finishing with a 1.50 earned run average.

Tall and strong (6-4, 215), he had his 2009 season curtailed by a back injury, but when he was on the mound he was dynamite.

Opening the season at Double-A Chattanooga, he worked in 13.2 innings over nine games and allowed one earned run. He won one and saved one, striking out a dozen while walking seven and posting an 0.66 earned run average.

Meanwhile, back in Los Angeles, reliever Will Ohman went on the disabled list on May 28 and Eric Stults followed on May 31 so the Dodgers recalled Schlichting from Chattanooga. He got into a pair of games, working 2.2 innings and allowing a single hit but walking five and striking out a pair. He saw no more action and was optioned to Albuquerque on June 19.

Schilchting pitched 12.2 innings over 13 games for he Isotopes, allowing only eight hits but striking out eight and walking seven while positing a 1.42 earned run average. He also pitched three rehab innings in the Arizona Rookie League.

That gave him a sparkling earned run average with the Isotopes, Lookouts and Arizona Dodgers over 25 games and 29.1 innings. He wracked up 25 strikeouts but passed a troubling 20 batters.

He again was sent to the Arizona Fall League and finished 2-1, 4.20 in six games, five of them starts.

Along with a host of others, he will be among the throng attempting to earn a slot in the Dodgers bullpen.

The 25-year-old throws a heavy, three-quarters sinker in the mid-90s and and uses a 86 mph slider that shows good bite but is still a bit inconsistent. He is aggressive on the mound and, if sent to the minors could be used as a closer, but he will be a middle-reliever if kept with the big club.

His journey from a middle-of-the-pack infielder to a genuine prospect in such a short time is remarkable and barring further back problems he could be a welcome surprise this season.

RHP TRAVIS SCHLICHTING
6-4 188 TR BR
Born- October 19, 1984, Denver Colorado
Obtained- Signed as a free agent 2008

year	team     ave   obp  ops   gm   ab   r   h   2b 3b hr  bi  sb
2003	TBay Rk	.226  .294 . 561  45  146  18   33   2  3  0   9   5
2004	TBay A	.260  .332  .673  94  331  50   86  19  1  2  24   6
2005	TBay A	.252  .304  .639 111  409  47  103  19  3  3  39  13
2006	TBay A	.242  .356  .760  31   99  18   24   5  1  3   9   6	
 Totals	        .250  .313  .652  303 988 134  247  45  7  8  91  31

year	team	w-l  era   gm  gs  sv    in   h  bb  so   ave
2006  Angl Rook	0-0  0.00   5   0  0    7.2   4   2  13  .148  
2007  KC Ind	1-2  5.29  41   0   0  51.0  72  29  47  .338
2008  Jackville	6-4  3.77  33   0  0   59.2  58  18  49  .260  
2009  L.A.	0-0  3.38   2   0  0    2.2   1   5   2  .111
      Chatt     1-0  0.66   9   0  1   13.2   7   7  12  .154
      Alb	1-0  1.42  13   0  0   12.2   8   8   7  .183
      AZ Rook   0-0  0.00   3   3  0    3.0   2   0   4  .117 
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 MLB total	0-0  3.38    2  0  0    2.2    1   5    2  .111
 MiL totals     9-6  3.53  104  3  1  147.2  151  64  132  .225  

[Ed note: We apologize for posting Travis out of order. He is our prospect #24.]

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