In a bit of a surprising move, junior pitcher Mitchell Traver declined to sign with the Cincinnati Reds, who drafted him in the 17th round this past spring, to return to TCU for his senior season. Traver, who started the season on the bench due to injury, went 1-3 in seven appearances, all starts, posting a 3.26 ERA and striking out 28 players in 30.1 innings of work.
Hey @obo_brian @evanskoug9 @cwanhanen @michaellandestoy17 and the rest of the crew...mind if I come back for one more hat stack? We have some unfinished business to take care of. Special thanks to the Cincinnati Reds for the 17th round selection, but I'm fired up for one more ride in the purple and white...GO FROGS!!!! #Jeremiah17:7-8
Traver posted his best start of the season in his final appearance, going 6.1 innings against Coastal Carolina in the College World Series, surrendering four hits and three earned runs in what would be a TCU loss. But the promise he has shown throughout his career was on full display, and should give Frog fans a lot of hope for the future.
For TCU Baseball, this move is an absolute coup. With Traver and Howard both returning to the rotation, Jim Schlossnagle will have a lot of options in regards to his weekend starters. It's not hard to imagine a Baker-Traver-Howard Friday-Saturday-Sunday set up, with Jared Janczak and Dalton Horton great Tuesday night options. That's five legitimate arms that can match up with just about anyone in the conference - though they are all right handers.
TCU is also anticipating the arrival of top recruit Nick Lodolo, the 41st overall pick in the 2016 draft. Though he continues to negotiate with the Pirates, Lodolo has maintained that we will enroll at TCU this fall and join the baseball program. A 6'6" lefty, Lodolo has enough potential to compete for a starting job as a true freshman, or at least be a force out of the bullpen early on. The deadline to negotiate is July 15th, so Lodolo's decision will be finalized by then.
For as much as Traver means on the field, it's his leadership off the field and in the dugout that might mean the most to a young team that will have a world of expectations on them entering the 2017 campaign.