Mitchell Traver was drafted in the 17th round a year ago, and this year he found himself being drafted in the 20th round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. While it may look like coming back to school did damage to Traver’s draft stock, he still has the potential to be a huge steal for the Angels.
Traver’s biggest issue over the course of his career at TCU has been injuries, as the right handed pitcher has oft found himself out for extended periods of time. Entering his freshman year at TCU, Traver was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which required the removal of a rib to help with blood flow to his shoulder. He also underwent Tommy John surgery, forcing him to redshirt his freshman season.
The next year, once Traver had recovered from surgery, he suffered a stress fracture in his back, causing him to miss most of his redshirt freshman season as well.
Finally, as a sophomore, Traver was completely healthy. He made 14 starts, going 9-2 with a team-leading 1.89 ERA, and earned a win during TCU’s 16-inning Super Regional clinching victory against Texas A&M. I was there for that game, and Traver absolutely dominated in those four innings.
Last season, Traver again missed most of the season with a back injury, and he aggravated a muscle in his back this season as well, forcing him to miss some time.
There’s no doubt, though, that when he’s healthy, Traver is a force to be reckoned with on the mound. Hopefully he stays healthy with the Angels, and proves himself as a late-round gem.