A few weeks ago I was able to talk with Cincinnati Reds third base prospect Travis ‘Moose’ Mattair. He had a real breakout season in 2012 and hopes to build upon that for 2013. You can follow him on twitter @mooser3226

RML: Since being drafted in 2007 you have seen two organizations and gone on to play college basketball. Has that journey helped your career?

Travis Mattair: It absolutely has shaped me of who I am today. Leaving baseball was the hardest decision I ever had to make. I live life one day at a time and that is what was best for me at that time in my life. I had to clear up the “what if” with basketball! I realized what I had in baseball and the great opportunities it provided me. I don’t think I would be in my position now if I hadn’t left baseball for the 2010 season. I wouldn’t change my decision, and am happy I went through that phase in my life.

RML: 2012 was a big breakout for you with career highs nearly across the board, especially in home runs. What can you attribute that to?

Travis Mattair: I attribute last year to a lot of things but most of all hard work. I continue to push myself harder every year so hopefully seasons like that will continue.

Travis 'Moose' Mattair had a breakout season in 2012 with the Bakersfield Blaze.

Travis ‘Moose’ Mattair had a breakout season in 2012 with the Bakersfield Blaze.

RML: Was there one game or moment that stood out from the 2012 year for you?

Travis Mattair: I wouldn’t say one game stood out to me. But I will say one moment did. I was really struggling early on in the season, playing every third day. It was really tough, with a lot of failure. I continued to press and press. Ken Griffey Sr., my manager called me into his office. He told me to get back to playing the game like a kid. “It’s a kids game” he always said. Have fun and enjoy every moment! Once I bought into that way of thinking my season turned around.

RML: What do you think are your strengths and weaknesses as a player?

Travis Mattair: My defense has always been a big strength of mine. I need to continue to work on maturing as a hitter, and taking one at bat at a time.

RML: The Cal League is known to be a hitters paradise as a league, but is there one place where you can just tell the ball flies differently?

Travis Mattair: High Desert, CA The ball doesn’t only fly there, there is a stuff wind almost every day at that ball park!

RML: What was the offseason like for you?

Travis Mattair: ┬áIn the off season I really love being around my family. I try and see then every minute I possibly can, because during season I don’t get to see them very often. My brother is a personal trainer so he trained me this off season and really kicked my butt! He took a lot of pride in getting me in shape and I feel I am in great shape heading into this 2013 season.

RML: Do you have any goals set for your 2013 season?

Travis Mattair: I always have goals set for myself long term as short term. But my biggest is to stay even keel at all times. There will be ups and there and there will be downs. I never want to get too excited and never want to get too down. It’s all a mind set. One day, one at bat, one pitch at a time.

RML: Was there a player you grew up watching and tried to emulate on the field?

Travis Mattair: I always watched Scott Rolen. I love how he goes about the game on the field and off the field. He literally gave everything he had every game. He also took so much pride in his defense which I like a lot.

RML: If you weren’t a baseball player, what would you like to be doing?

Travis Mattair: If I wasn’t a baseball player I would be back in school. I don’t exactly know what I would want to do this second but something with people. I love dealing with people and and building relationships!

I just wanted to thank Travis again for taking the time to sit down and answer some questions.

24 Responses

  1. MikeD

    Great interview Doug! Seems like a good guy that you really can root for to get a chance. Obviously I would like to see Todd Frazer succeed, but thirdbase may be the one position there’s opportunity at.

    Not a typical question, but do you have a favorite minor leaguer that you root for beyond the idea of being a prospect?

  2. The Duke

    Good interview. I doubt he woukd have known the answer, but I wonder what the Reds wills do about the logjam at 3B in AA with him and David Vidal. Will Mattair play 1B some, will they rotate with the other DH’ing, does Mattair start off in High A again? I’d like see one if them separate themself with superior performance, but we shall see.

    • Doug Gray

      Where Mattair starts out is one of my questions that I most want to see answered. He clearly deserves a promotion, but figuring out where to play him and Vidal on the same team could get interesting if both wind up in Pensacola. Mattair has played some first, but he is a strong defender at third, so you would like to see him get time there as well. Having the DH available in most games does help.

      • The Duke

        Given how gung ho the Reds are about versatility, I could see them each having a playing time split like this:

        50% 3B
        25% 1B
        25% DH

        Then Dominick D’Anna and maybe Donald Lutz fill in the remaining 50% of PT at 1B, then Theo Bowe subbing in for all 3 OF spots behind Smith/Selsky/Lutz and those 4 OF splitting some time at SHe as well.

  3. DaveCT

    With the Phillies, Mattair was considered a quality athlete without the performance expected, so you have to wonder if it is coming together just a bit later for him, esp with the basketball side trip.

    Interesting Rolen comment, as Mattair is also 6’4″ I believe.

    It would be helpful to see some RH power coming up, when Ludwick departs, or Frazier peaks, etc. Of course, there is a dude playing catcher with some of that …

    • MK

      You know when you start a new job a person needs to be all in and burn all other bridges to be successful. Sounds like Travis hadn’t burnt that basketball bridge before. Maybe the new found baseball success is because he has burnt that bridge now or at least had the bridge burnt for him.

      Amir Garrett might be in that same position.

  4. Krozley

    I wonder if there’s a chance that either Mattair or Vidal could play shortstop. Not like they would need to make the full switch, but just be able to handle the position from time to time.

  5. Stock

    You have to be an insider to get the complete International Review but here is a summary of the Reds review this year.

    Cincinnati Reds

    Top signing: OF Luis Hernandez, Dominican Republic, $160,000.

    Six-figure signings: SS Francis Azcona (Dominican Republic), Pabel Manzanero (Venezuela), OF Jose De Luna (Dominican Republic).

    Quick Take: The Reds didn’t make many big signings in 2012, which left them with plenty of pool space available to sign Dominican lefthander Jacob Constante for $730,000 when he popped up hitting 94 mph in January 2013.

    Here is the link if you want to look at the other 29 teams:

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/international-affairs/2013/2614708.html

    • Doug Gray

      Yeah, it wasn’t a good year (2012) for the Reds on the international market, but they seemed to kick off 2013 well.

      • Stock

        From the quick take notes on the Reds it sounds as if the money given to Constante counts towards 2012 even though he signed in 2013. What about the Austrailian they just signed? Do you know when the cutoff is? Draft day sounds reasonable but so did January 1. Based upon the notes from the Rangers it has to be prior to July 2 which would be the third reasonable date.

      • Doug Gray

        July 2nd makes sense, given that is the day that signings are allowed to start for newly eligible guys. I can’t confirm that, but it makes the most sense.

      • The Duke

        I’d like to see the Reds get at least one high profile international signing ($750k+) each year. Then again, I think the Rays might have a good idea of dominating the Int market one year, then take a penalty year and sign a lot of the $50k types, and then they can try to dominate the market again in 2014.

  6. boiler

    Reds blocked Cueto from pitching in World Baseball Classic. – THANK YOU

  7. Doug Gray

    Who is ready to listen to baseball?

    I am not the biggest Marty fan around. But I simply can’t wait to hear his voice in about an hour.

    • Jimmy

      Do you have to pay for it to listen to it online? That’s crazy!

      • Doug Gray

        Yes, you do. MLB sells radio packages and doesn’t allow you to listen online.

    • Krozley

      Looks like both teams have the opening day lineups in place. Stubbs is batting 9th in right-field for the Indians.

  8. peppe

    Im 88 theres a few things i dont understand about baseball one is what happens to rolen now i always liked the guy