Reds Win in Daytona Debut

Cincinnati's new affiliate Dayton in the Florida State League got started right Thursday by winning their first game of the 2015 season. Former first-rounder Nick Travieso made an early statement that he’s plenty ready to compete at the high-A level by working deep into the contest after allowing only one first inning run.

Thursday was the first game for the new Cincinnati high-A affiliate in Daytona and the Tortugas got off on the right foot with a 5-1 win over visiting Brevard County. The Manatees struck early with a run in the top half of the first inning, but that lead was short-lived when the home team came back in the bottom of the frame to take the lead after a leadoff home run by Sebastian Elizalde and an RBI triple from Robert Ramirez. They added on in the fourth when Taylor Sparks led off with a hit and scored later on a groundout. Finally Phillip Ervin provided the final score with a two-run homer in the seventh.

Elizalde, Chad Wallach, and Jeff Gelalich each had two of Daytona’s nine hits with the latter also reaching via a walk. On the mound Nick Travieso had a successful high-A debut by allowing only one run on only one hit/one walk over six-plus innings while striking out five for the win. Zach Weiss entered in the seventh and held the opponent scoreless through the eighth. Two pitchers combined for a scoreless ninth including Evan Mitchell who retired the final two batters for the save.

Back on draft day in 2012 some felt that Travieso was a bit of a reach when the Reds invested their first round draft choice on the right-hander out of high school. At that time he was a player that had been picking up some steam before the draft after playing at a Florida high school powerhouse that kept him in the bullpen until his senior season. Perhaps it was a case of being “too familiar” with a player because he was watched frequently by a parent of a teammate who was also a Cincinnati scout.

Those opinions were silenced by now-21 year-old last season. He was still young for his level despite returning for a second season at Dayton. Actually his first tour there was kind of feast or famine, allowing less than two runs in nine of his seventeen appearances with some rough outings mixed in for an overall ERA of 4.63. That year he looked like a talented young prospect who needed to add consistency. Last season consistency came to town as he reduced his ernie by more than a run and a half all the way down to 3.04 while winning 14 games.

His second low-A season had an improvement in his strikeout rate as he finished with a K/BB ratio of 2.6. He showed an ability to challenge hitters because his hits/nine innings dropped from over nine to under eight for a nice 2014 WHIP of 1.173. That’s easier to do for a pitching prospect like Travieso who can dial up mid-90’s heat. Also, his off-speed offerings are coming around as he develops his feel for pitching professionally. It’s only one start thus far, but it could be a first step to putting him back on a fast track to Pensacola by the end of the year. He has yet to crash any list of top 100 MLB prospects, but that could happen as early as next season.

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