“You guys put me out there big and I can’t thank you guys enough for that.”-Nick Travieso, 14th overall pick in 2012 MLB Draft.
Leading up to this year’s draft it was unclear as to when exactly Nick Travieso would hear his name called, though many experts saw him as a late first-round pick. On draft night Nick was “hoping for the best,” having certainly done his part to become one of the top right-handed arms in this year’s class. Then he got the call he’s worked for his entire life; the Cincinnati Reds selected him as the 14th overall pick in the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft.
SB: What was it like when you got the call letting you know the Reds were selecting you as the 14th overall pick this year?
NT: It was one of those things where it just felt amazing. It felt like it was just a huge load of my shoulders, knowing that all the work I had put in finally paid off.
SB: Let’s go back to that, over a year ago when we first saw you at our Under Armour Baseball Factory National Tryout. You followed a different path than some of the other players picked high in the draft. It seems from the outside looking in that even though everyone knew how talented you are, it seemed like you had to prove yourself all the way up until a couple weeks before the draft. Did you feel that way too?
NT: I kind of felt like I did because unlike other pitchers, I wasn’t a starting pitcher my whole life. I just started starting pitching this last summer. The scouts had a little question mark as to whether or not I had starting material and had the stamina to be a starter. Over the process of the season I felt like I got stronger and stronger. I proved what I can do and it all worked out [making the transition from being a closer to a starter.]
SB: Did you do anything specifically in your development to make that transition or was it just a matter of somebody giving you more innings?
NT: I started with two innings, and kept progressing but it was definitely tough. My arm wasn’t used to it. I worked hard, really hard. It was a long process, a long grind just to get in shape. I’m glad everything worked out and all the hard work paid off. Starting is my thing now.
SB: Since the Draft, it’s probably been a little bit of a whirlwind. Have you had a chance to relax and soak everything in?
NT: The first few days’ right after the draft everybody wants to talk to you. Since then it’s kind of relaxed, just enjoying it and soaking it in, realizing I’m going to be a professional baseball player. I’m not trying to rush things but I want to get started obviously. I’m just looking forward to it.
SB: It’s been a pretty special spring for you, winning another state title for [Archbishop] McCarthy and then the draft. It’s kind of the storybook finish to your high school career.
NT: McCarthy has done so well for me, especially Coach Alex Fernandez. He’s helped me a lot, especially staying relaxed in front of coaches and scouts. He’s helped me out a lot through the process.
SB: Let’s shift gears for a minute and go back to the Under Armour All-America Game last year in Chicago. Tell me a little bit about what you remember from your experience in Chicago last summer.
NT: The experience there was top class. Going in I felt like I was a Major Leaguer; you guys treated us amazingly. Being able to pitch from a Major League mound, it doesn’t get much better than that. Knowing all the history there behind the Cubs and the stadium [Wrigley Field], going into the same locker room as players like Babe Ruth, it was an eye-opener. I was in awe the whole time.
SB: Did you feel like that experience [Under Armour All-America Game] ultimately helped you with your development and the Draft?
NT: Definitely. The YouTube video you put out, I feel like a lot of people saw that and on draft day that’s exactly what they used for me. The experience helped me prepare for the future because I pitched on Major League mounds after that. After being in Chicago it helped me settle in. I know the experience, I know how it feels. I had already been through the experience of facing the top hitters and awesome talent over there [at Wrigley].
SB: I have a few more questions for you. Is there a little something in the back of your mind that’s glad you got picked by a National League team and you might still get to swing it a little bit?
NT: [laughs] Yeah going into it I’m not thinking I hope I get picked by a NL team. Hopefully down the road, hopefully I’ll swing it again.
SB: Once you officially sign, is there any one luxury item you’ve got on your mind that you’re going to grab?
NT: I just want to make sure that I invest and I’m set for the rest of my life after professional baseball. But the one thing that I really want to do is just take my family out to a nice dinner. Give them thanks for everything that they’ve done for me. I know my parents have sacrificed a lot, getting me place to place throughout my life. I just want to make sure I can take care of them and thank them for everything.
SB: Down at Archbishop McCarthy you guys just keep rolling with the draft picks. We had Nick Castellanos a few years ago at the Wrigley Game; he was a high pick and signed. Off of this year’s team Nick’s brother, Ryan, and Nick Basto, who was also up at Wrigley last summer, were both drafted. Were any of the guys with you on Draft night?
NT: Nick Basto was with me. It was great having him there, we’ve grown up together. It was great seeing him there with my family and enjoying everything.
SB: That’s good. Did you happen to be with him the next day when he got his call as a fifth-rounder?
NT: I was actually at his house. I don’t think I’ve ever been that nervous in my life to be honest. I was nervous for him more than I was for myself… I was really happy for him, to know that we grew up together and we did this together and it paid off.
SB: We’re happy for both of you. Is there anything else you want to share [as far as Baseball Factory & the Under Armour All-America Game] for other young players who are starting this process?
NT: I definitely recommend it to anybody out there. It’s helped me throughout my whole career. You guys put me out there big and I can’t thank you guys enough for that. The experience, I’ll never forget it for sure. And then seeing how many players got drafted after the Wrigley game, it was just amazing.
In today’s era of agents and tough contracts, it’s refreshing to hear from a young player who lets his talent speak for itself and who knows after being selected in the first-round of the 2012 MLB Amateur Draft that his hard work has paid off, but there’s still a long road ahead. Throughout his young career, Nick has carried himself with maturity and poise both on and off the field. Between his exciting talent and exceptional work ethic, Nick’s future in professional baseball is bright. We’re excited to watch him continue to Build His Way to Greatness at the next level!