One of the things that the Reds mentioned after drafting Nick Travieso in the 2012 draft was that they were going to make some small tweaks to his mechanics. Today I wanted to take a look at those changes. You can watch video of a start he made in June here to see exactly what he is doing currently.

The first difference is easy to pick up. In high school, he would begin his wind up much sooner than he did as a professional. He was slower in his motion as he would rotate his body around and set his foot and go into his leg lift. As a professional he starts later and his movements are a bit quicker.

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1. By the point that his front leg reaches the highest point, his motion is caught up to where he was in high school. The difference here though is that both his hands and his leg are about 6-12 inches higher than they were in high school.

2. As he drops his leg and straightens it out to come forward and plant it, there is another difference. Travieso keeps things tighter to his body. Both his front leg and his glove arm stay closer to his body and swing out less than when he was in high school.

3. Once his front foot is planted and he begins to come forward with his upper body and arm he is in a more upright position. As a professional he is at a 90° angle, while in high school he was closer to an 80° angle. While the difference is small and subtle it showed up consistently.

4. At his release point his body is slightly more upright, and his head is more upright. The head being more upright though could be directly related to the previous change where his upper body is also more upright.

5. His follow through is also a bit more controlled. He is much more balanced on his front leg as it is directly lined up with the plate as a professional, while as a senior in high school his toes were pointing at the plate, but his front leg is at an 80° angle and he falls off quickly towards first base.

What a lot of this does is help improve his control by making his mechanics more repeatable. He is keeping everything closer to his body, allowing for less variance in his movements with each pitch. The improvements in keeping everything more upright (his upper body and his head, though those two may be linked to one another) are doing more of the same, keeping everything more repeatable and gives less variability in where his body and arm wind up at the release point which improves the control. One thing that it does do though, is it does give him slightly less torque. We did see that at times during the 2012 and 2013 season, as he would at times be sitting 89-91 while touching 92. There were other times where he would sit 93-95 and touch 97 too though. In high school though he was consistently in the mid-90’s each game and bottoming out around 91 and his upper end velocity was better as well. For now, he has traded some velocity for better control. Finding more consistent velocity into that 93-95 range that he sat at during parts of the season would be a big step for him.

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5 Responses

  1. MK

    I hope people stay patient with Nick, especially fans. I hope he opens in Dayton again, in fact on last day of 2013 he told me he would see me next year, so I think he gets it too. He has a great head and attitude, perfect pitchers body(frame) and is learning the trade. He probably won’t get there until late 2016 or more likely 2017 and several guys drafted with him will get there before him but he is built for success.

    • Doug Gray

      I believe he will be back in Dayton again in 2014, and he probably should be. I think he could handle Bakersfield, but Dayton will put him in a better position to make adjustments early in the season.

      • DaveCT

        It is very encouraging to hear he has a good head on his shoulders. Doeither of you think Romano repeats Lo-A too (they are about same age, correct)?

      • Doug Gray

        If Romano doesn’t start in Dayton (sans an injury), I would be surprised. He, like Travieso, would likely benefit from the Midwest League a second time through. Romano struggled at times with his control, so pushing him up to Bakersfield would probably be rushing him right out of the gate.

  2. Ben

    His mechanics aren’t bad, but they are not great either. He doesn’t use his lower half nearly as much as he could. He basically turns his legs and hips rather than stepping back behind the rubber with his left leg to build up power with his lower half. It’s an easy problem to fix and he would probably gain several MPH on his pitches. The other thing that’s easy to notice is that his back foot is off the rubber before his front foot lands. If you keep the back foot against the rubber until the front foot lands, it creates more hip torque in the follow through of the pitching motion as the back foot comes forward and lands, preferably even with the leg kick foot to put yourself in a position to field the ball. Travieso is falling off to the side of the mound as you can see.