Padres prospect interview: Travis Chick

Travis Chick was hesitant to call himself a "power pitcher". He admits he isn't in the echelon that Randy Johnson and Roger Clemons call home but Chick possesses a heater that burns the grass on the way to home plate as it touches 95 on the radar.

"I think of like 97, 98 (miles per hour)," Chick maintained, "and I am not quite up there yet. You just watch it on TV and are like, ‘man, that is some heat.'

"I love using my fastball. I don't know exactly if it is a power fastball but I like to use it as one. I love coming in on guys and I like to throw my fastball. That is where I like to get a lot of the outs with."

So far, his use of the fastball has worked out quite well. Travis Chick has struck out 254 batters in 231.1 innings pitched and has walked 81 over that same span. But his walk totals have diminished each year while has whiff totals rise.

Immersed in an offseason conditioning program designed to keep his physique toned for the long season, Chick hasn't picked up a ball and started throwing.

Sprints, the gym, and anything that will ensure he stays in peak physical condition are the workouts of choice. He wants what he calls "explosiveness" and feels this will help him down the road.

Another area he hopes it makes a difference in is his fielding. Perhaps he is upset that he has only turned one double play in his Minor League career. Then again, it could be the two assists he has on the field last year.

Not so secretly, however, is his desire to make it up to Double-A Mobile, where he will have a chance to run the bases.

So the sprint work he is putting in now will come in handy.

"To be able to field off the mound better, get off the mound and field all the balls," Chick explains of why he has taken this approach. "More leg drive for the explosiveness and mobility. Hopefully I will be in Double-A and get to run around the basepaths too."

There is always the threat that as a pitcher's body changes, he will lose something mechanically along the way. After all, Chick has been tossing the heat and doing quite fine with it.

Why mess with success? To hear Chick tell it, it is the reason for his success.

"Last offseason I really dedicated myself to my body and it paid off with me having a pretty good year this year," he admitted. "I don't think (I lose mechanics) because my motion got better the more physically fit that I got. I am making some adjustments here and there with my workout program. As I get older, I am learning more about my body and just hoping to let that translate into what I do on the mound."

Chick was consistent in every way after joining the Padres via trade. After the season was over, he went to the Instructional Leagues and simply became the first pitcher to ever be voted MVP of Instructs.

It is a distinction that wasn't lost on the young fireballer. Ironically, after winning the award he gave up two runs over three innings in his next outing – the only runs he allowed in the Instructional League.

Looking ahead, Chick is destined to begin the year in the California League, known to be a hitter's haven and a pitcher's nightmare.

The ball flies out of the park in a hurry, forcing the pitcher to keep his composure on the mound.

"It is going to have to make me focus more (on keeping the ball down)," said Chick. "It will probably be good for me because I will have to learn how to pitch even more with my fastball.

"The ball flies on me regardless, no matter where I am at. Alls I have to do is elevate the ball one time and there it goes. If I give up home runs, I give up home runs. I am a power pitcher. I go for strikeouts. I go for outs. Using my fastball as much as I do gives them a shot to hit the long ball."

At least in the end, Chick admitted he is what he is – a power pitcher.

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