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Reds leveraged reliable sources for first pick

CINCINNATI -- When it came to making the 14th selection in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, the Reds felt they had some quality inside information about their guy.

Right-handed pitcher Nick Travieso, from Archbishop McCarthy High School in Southwest Ranches, Fla., is a teammate of Nicholas Arias, who happens to be the son of Reds director of Latin Scouting Tony Arias.

"Sometimes, you feel you have a little advantage," said Chris Buckley, the Reds' senior director of amateur scouting. "When you have that information, we were hoping we had some information the other scouts didn't.

"[Travieso] is a very impressive young guy."

Buckley is a Florida resident, as are Arias and assistant director of Latin America scouting Miguel Machado. All were involved in the scouting of former first-rounders Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal, plus highly regarded prospect Neftali Soto. All three scouts have had plenty of chances to see Travieso in person over the years -- Archbishop McCarthy just secured its third straight Florida state high school championship.

Cincinnati remained in the state with its second selection Monday, picking Jesse Winker, an outfielder from Olympia High School at No. 49. The Reds then went cross-country to select Jeff Gelalich, an outfielder out of UCLA, at No. 57.

The 18-year-old Travieso, who stands at 6-foot-2 and weighs 215 pounds, is also friends with Tony Fossas, who happens to be the pitching coach for the Reds' Rookie League affiliate in Billings, Mont.

It all added up to the Reds making Travieso their first-round selection on Monday night.

"I've kind of grown with him in the last year," Travieso said of Fossas. "It feels amazing just to be selected in the Draft at all, especially going to a city like Cincinnati. I've been dreaming about this day my whole life."

A three-pitch power hurler, Travieso throws a fastball, slider and changeup. Scouting reports say his velocity ranges as high as 99 mph, sitting consistently in the mid-90s.

"I've hit it a few times, not just once," Travieso said. "I've been blessed by God with the ability to throw that hard. I'm usually sitting in the 93-95-mph range."

While Travieso was ranked further down the Draft board by some members of the media and in mock drafts, the Reds held him in very high regard.

"We've been following him for a couple of years," Buckley said. "He's been in everything. We saw him pitch at the end of the fall on the USA team. His dad has handled him very well, and that's important."

Buckley made a quick big league comparison to Giants right-hander Matt Cain.

"That would the guy that comes to me, and I scouted him when he was in high school a few years back," Buckley said.

Travieso, a Yankees fan growing up, preferred to mold his game closer to that of Roger Clemens.

"I've always followed him my whole life. He's been my idol," Travieso said. "I feel like I have the same bulldog mentality he does when he pitched on the mound."

This is the second consecutive high school right-hander the Reds have taken in the first round; last year, they selected Robert Stephenson with the 27th overall pick.

Under the game's new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the recommended bonus for the 14th pick is $2.375 million.

Although committed to remain in South Florida and attend the nearby University of Miami, Travieso said he is eager to join the Reds. The signing deadline is 5 p.m. ET on July 13.

"Right now, I'm looking forward to signing professionally and get my career started," Travieso said. "Hopefully, I will get up to Cincinnati as fast as I can to help the big league team win a World Series."

As the first-round selections aired Monday on MLB Network, Travieso watched at home with his immediate family and some coaches and teammates from school. His selection is an early Father's Day gift to his father, Danny, who was once a college pitcher.

"My Dad has been the world to me," Travieso said. "He's been here every step of the way. We used to go at it when I was younger. But he's been here. I love him to death. He's been my go-to guy for everything -- on and off the field. He's always been my big supporter no matter what happens. I just have to thank him for everything."

Cincinnati Reds