Travieso Wins 10th

Dayton made a first-inning lead stand up Wednesday in a 3-1 win that featured a three-hit effort by outfielder Jon Mathews and strong starting effort from Nick Travieso. Those two Dragons are making strong cases for promotions to high-A to start the 2015 season.

Dayton took a three-run first inning lead Wednesday and held on for a 3-1 win at Lansing. The victory put the Dragons two games above .500 at 54-52. Phil Ervin plated the first run of the game with a sac fly which was followed by RBI-singles from Tanner Rahier and Jon Matthews. Matthews led his team with three hits along with the RBI. Nick Travieso got the win for allowing only one unearned run on two hits/four walks over six innings. Pedro Diaz relieved him with two hitless innings before Zach Weiss tossed a scoreless ninth for the save.

Matthews has never been on any top Reds prospect lists and he may never be, but it isn’t because he hasn’t shown an ability to hit at the lower levels. Wednesday’s game raised his average to .338 AVG/.429 OB with Dayton after starting off the season at .333 with Bakersfield. It’s hard to say what caused the demotion after 13 games with the Blaze, but he’s making the most of his time in the Midwest League.

Matthews has been in the Cincinnati system since they selected him out of St. Petersburg (FL) College in the eighth round in 2011, two rounds behind his college teammate Sean Buckley who the Reds picked in the sixth. He worked a couple of years in the rookie leagues without any noteworthy stats, but then hit .292 AVG/.398 OB at Billings last year which earned his first trip to Dayton. Along the way he’s shown that he can steal a base, swiping 80 in 191 minor league games while getting caught only 25 times.

Matthews is a 6’1”/195# right-hander that has played all three outfield positions. His range factor is a little lower than expected after noticing his speed on the base paths. At the age of 23 he’s a bit old for the Midwest League but he’s making a solid case for a return to high-A. He projects as a top-lineup hitter and swinging the bat like it’s time for a promotion.

This is the second season at Dayton for the Reds 2012 first rounder Travieso. He’s still young for the level and has improved his consistency over last year to go 10-5/3.50 ERA thus far. Along the way he’s struck out 88 in 108 innings and though some are modest, improvements have been made to all of his pitching stats compared to 2013.

Travieso has been a highly-visible prospect in the Cincinnati system since they invested their top pick on him two years ago. He arrived with a reputation of rough skills with a high upside. This season he’s done nothing to change the upside part of that while giving good reason to think that his skills are being polished. The Reds have high hopes for him as a solid member of their rotation one day and though he’s at least a couple of years away, his mid-90’s fastball and slider suggests they won’t be disappointed. Cincinnati wasn’t bashful about fast-tracking Travieso to Dayton last year, skipping him over Billings entirely after unimpressive results in the Arizona League after he signed. The 20 year-old right-hander has a powerful 6’2”/215# build and it appears he’s ready to move up to Bakersfield with a debut at the AA level some time next season within the realm of possibility.

The two Dayton prospects are traveling different roads. One is off the radar hoping to improve his stock while the other is close to the top of the Cincinnati list solidifying his position. They both have dreams of playing in the big leagues one day and it would be a huge disappointment for Travieso not to make it while few would notice of Matthews washed out. It’s a pretty safe bet they both will be moving up come next season.

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