Top 30 Cincinnati Prospects: No. 6

Nick Travieso's stock was on the rise at the time of the 2012 draft when Cincinnati picked him with the fourteenth overall selection. The Reds weren't bashful to jump him up to Dayton last year even though he didn't have much experience in the rookie leagues. He'll return there to start the 2014 campaign and big things are expected from his first full season.

When Cincinnati drafted Nick Travieso in the first round of the 2012 he was considered a late riser and some felt he was a bit of a reach. He had played for Florida high school powerhouse Archbishop Malloy and pitched out of the bullpen until his senior season and didn't get a lot of exposure in showcase events. That didn't bother the Reds who selected him with the fourteenth overall pick after watching him considerably while he played with a teammate that is the son of their director of Latin America scouting.

Travieso has a powerful 6'2"/215# build and throw right-handed. The Reds inked him with a $2 million bonus which was under slot value and nullified his scholarship offer to the University of Miami. After the draft he debuted with eight games in the Arizona League and last year they jumped him over Billings to Dayton where he finished with a mid-four ERA as a teenager against low-A competition. While he was going through a learning curve in the Midwest League all but 25 batters faced were older than him.

Travieso was not considered as polished coming out of high school as their first round selection the previous season, Robert Stephenson, but that didn't stop Cincinnati from fast-tracking him to where the two top picks threw out of the same rotation for a while. He's already popping the radar in the mid-90's and has a sharp slider. Like most young pitching prospects he needs to improve command and while he's doing that he'll also work on a curve for a third pitch. If he does struggle with development on either of these he could still advance as a reliever, however the Reds must have had plans for him to start before investing such a high draft pick.

Though he might not have been as refined as other pitchers in the draft the ceiling on his upside potential is as high as anyone's. He finished Dayton with a 4.63 ERA/1.34 WHIP but his walk rate wasn't too bad at three per nine innings which boosted his K/BB ratio to 2.3. His game-by-game line looks like a young pitcher with a lot of ability and some inconsistency because of the high ERA in spite of holding opponents to one or fewer earned runs in nine of his seventeen appearances. After only half a season at Dayton he'll be returning there for opening day. Rough or not, thus far it does not appear Cincinnati will be bashful to run him out against older competition so if he gets off to a good start a promotion to Bakersfield would not be a surprise.

Travieso projects at a power, top-rotation pitcher at the MLB level. He's only 20 years old and needs a lot of work in the minors, but all the coaching in the world won't get many pitchers throwing a 98 mph fastball like he's already done on occasion. Cincinnati has been blessed with strong pitching recently and young arms like Stephenson and second year MLB'er Tony Cingrani make it appear that they'll continue to enjoy it for a while. It may take a few years, but Travieso has plenty of potential to force himself into that mix after he's paid some more dues in the minors.

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