June 15, 2012
Draft Day Deliveries, Part Two
After a pitcher-heavy run to round out the top 10 picks of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, MLB clubs took a rest, with just two of the next 10 selections hailing from the mound. The roller-coaster ride continued with four consecutive arms chosen from picks 19 through 22, followed by a seven-pick drought before wrapping up with a pair of pitchers to close out the first round. Today's edition will cover the six-pack of pitchers who were taken in the middle of the round, a stretch that includes all right-handed hurlers, though today's group does involve a healthy mix of prep pitchers and college-trained arms.
14th pick, Reds: Nick Travieso, RHP, High School (FLA)
For the third time in four years, the Reds used their top selection on a right-handed pitcher. Travieso marked the second straight hurler that Cincinnati dipped into the high school ranks to draft in the first round, following last year's selection of Robert Stephenson. The MLB Network footage was less fruitful than the mlb.com draft report, though the draft-day coverage did at least provide a glimpse of Travieso's goofy impression of Happy Gilmore.
Travieso's balance is solid into max leg lift, but he has issues with maintaining that balance across the other links in the kinetic chain. His head dives to the glove side even before he reaches foot strike, with an exaggerated lean by the time the pitch is released. His spine-tilt carries all of the usual caveats, acting as a barrier to pitch repetition and release distance while elevating the risk of injury. Travieso has a small collapse of the backside as he initiates the second gear of his forward momentum, creating an imbalance that perpetuates through release point. The mlb.com footage includes a side-view that better demonstrates Travieso's impressive momentum. He generates power from the start of the delivery through release point, though his momentum finishes with an imbalance that causes him to fall off to the glove-side.
A big upper-body twist combines with a strong delay of trunk rotation to create excellent torque when all of the gears are clicking, with heavy contributions from hips and shoulders alike. Travieso has high elbows as he approaches foot strike in addition to a scapular load that he uses to increase hip-shoulder separation, thus opening the floodgates of potential injury risk. None of the injury precursors is considered extreme, but the Reds will want to emphasize a proper conditioning regimen in order to safely support Travieso's delivery.