Injury Sidelines TCU’s Traver For 4-6 Weeks
TCU redshirt junior righthanded pitcher Mitchell Traver will miss the first four-to-six weeks of the season because of a muscle strain in his back, leaving the Horned Frogs with a little uncertainty on the mound entering opening weekend action against Loyola Marymount.
Though Traver’s injury doesn’t appear to be serious this time around, it’s worth noting that he’s had some injury issues in the past, namely having Tommy John surgery, something that kept him out of action during his true freshman campaign.
Traver, a strapping 6-foot-7, 255-pounder, was ranked No. 68 in our College Top 300 prospects list early this spring, and when healthy, is one of the more dynamic arms in college baseball. Traver took a huge step forward last season, particularly in the Fort Worth Super Regional with an outstanding performance against hard-hitting Texas A&M. There, he came out of the bullpen against the Aggies and saved the day for the Frogs, striking out six, walking just two and allowing no hits in four innings of work. That day, Traver showed why he continues to be a coveted prospect with his big-time curveball and ability to throw with velocity from a nasty downhill angle.
“Obviously, this isn’t the way we wanted to start our season, but we’re hopeful that Mitchell can be back with us in five-to-six weeks,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “Injuries can have silver linings for all involved, so we’re trusting that over time, this situation will make us a better team.”
The Horned Frogs are in rebuilding mode on the mound early this spring, so the options to replace Traver are rather limited for now. With that said, the Frogs expect to have righthanders Brian Howard and freshman standout Luken Baker in the weekend rotation, while junior college transfer and lefthander Rex Hill is expected, for now, to fill Traver’s vacancy.
Howard is a talented righty with some real upside and Baker has a big-time arm with an extremely durable frame. Meanwhile, Hill is a very intriguing arm to watch moving forward. Hill began his career at Texas A&M, but couldn’t completely find his way. However, after a successful stint at San Jacinto (Texas) CC, he’s now with the Frogs and is coming off an impressive fall, where he sat 86-90 mph with life on his fastball, along with a high quality changeup and above-average breaking ball.
There are other options for Schlossnagle and pitching coach Kirk Saarloos to consider as well. Preston Guillory is a steady veteran who could probably hold down the fort on the mound until Traver returns, while freshman righty Durbin Feltman, who’s currently projected to close for the Frogs, has a huge arm with a lot of upside, though currently is a bit raw.
Losing Traver for a few weeks isn’t the end of the world for the Horned Frogs, but it does cloud a picture already a little murky with the departures of several key arms and the infusion of some talented, but very young, arms.