Top 30 Reds Prospects: No. 5

Cincinnati used a first round pick on Nick Travieso out of a Florida high school baseball powerhouse where his action was limited to the bullpen until his final season. He's a raw product, but has a mid/high 90's fastball and slider that projects him as a power pitcher at the MLB level. After a brief debut in the Arizona League he figures to log more innings this season at Billings.

Cincinnati had an inside track when scouting Nick Travieso because his high school teammate was the son of Tony Arias, their director of Latin American scouting. Some felt it a bit of a reach to use the fourteenth overall pick on him, but his stock was on the rise at the time of selection. He already has a mid-90's fastball that he mixes with a sharp slider and was one of the better high-school pitchers in last year's draft.

Perhaps one thing that hurt his stock was playing for a Florida baseball powerhouse, Archbishop McCarthy in Ft. Lauderdale. They won three state championships and were so deep with talent that Travieso pitched out of their bullpen until his senior season. He also did not take advantage of opportunities to gain extra exposure by pitching in showcase events. The Reds inked him with a $2 million bonus which was below the recommended slot, and denied his services to Miami University.

He debuted in the Arizona Rookie League last season and put up some forgettable stats in limited action. The Reds were cautious with him and none of his eight starts lasted longer than four innings. This season he figures to be at Billings when their season opens in June. He finished with an ERA at 4.71 which seems a bit high for his 1.19 WHIP.

Travieso throws from a 6'2"/215# physique and projects into a power pitcher. Like many young arms, the 19 year-old is working on command and he's also developing a change-up to add to his repertoire. Before the draft some thought that he'd better off returning to the pen, but the Reds must have been sold on his future in the rotation to invest such a high pick.

Travieso entered the organization a raw talent with a huge upside. In his debut he only walked five batters in 21 innings while striking out fourteen and it will be interesting to if he can keep a low rate over more innings this season. His status was climbing before the draft which is encouraging, as is his capability to hit the radar at 98 m.p.h. on good days. There's a lot of promise in his slider and he should be able to master the off-speed stuff as consistency is improved in his delivery.

Then again the Reds knew they what they were getting when they drafted Travieso and will be content to wait on his development. They return all of a staff that is coming off an outstanding 2012 campaign and top-rated prospects Daniel Corcino and Tony Cingrani will start the season in AAA with 2011 first-rounder Robert Stephenson in the pipeline behind them. Not going over slot saved some bonus money that they put could apply to other selections, something Cincinnati has not lost many of in recent years. In the meantime they got a right-hander in Travieso with a ceiling on potential as high as any high-school pitcher in the draft.


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