|Travis Barnett was the 14th draft|
In May 2002, Travis Barnett graduated from Emery High School. At Emery, Travis was a starting pitcher on the baseball team, the starting center on the basketball team and a pretty good student academically.
Four years later, Travis has just finished his sophomore season at Salt Lake Community College, married his sweetheart on June 2, signed a letter of intent to pitch for the University of Utah and then became the 14th draft pick of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Travis always wanted to be a baseball player. Looking back, this was his destiny. In high school, Travis' fastball was clocked in the low 80s and according to his coach Jimmy Jones, "you could see his potential." Travis had scouts looking at him in high school. Travis worked hard to better himself and his pitching and always had the support of his parents.
In the fall during high school, Travis played for the Utah Baseball Academy and two to three times a week traveled to play. He also traveled to Provo for private instruction with the BYU pitching coach, Bobby Noel. The Barnett's, Travis and parents, sacrificed for something they loved and for something Travis had talent in.
At Emery, Travis was All-Region and All-State in both basketball and baseball, and was also Academic All-State. In his senior year, Travis was named Scholar Athlete of the year for Emery High. At SLCC, Travis was a Distinguished Academic All-American.
In his freshman year at SLCC, his coaches changed his delivery. Travis went from what would be called a standard pitcher with a standard overhead delivery to a submariner. He now released a pitch below his waist instead of by his head.
Travis spent two years serving in Knoxville, Tenn. as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where he lost a little muscle and gained a little weight. He was out of shape but eventually, after many hours in the weight room, regained his former style during his sophomore season. Travis also found control upon his return. His college coach DG Nelson said this about his player, "When I put him in the game (in his sophomore season) I expect the game to be over."
|Travis Barnett pitches for the Devil Rays with his submariner style of pitching.|
Travis was assigned to Princeton, W.V. to start his professional career. As of July 17, Travis had a 1-0 record with three saves and a 3.75 ERA. Travis now throws a fastball at 90 m.p.h.
Travis told a West Virginia reporter, "Normally you wouldn't expect someone as tall as I am to be a submariner. Several years ago, one of my coaches noticed I had a tendency to drop my elbow when I pitched from over the top, so he suggested that I bring my shoulder down to put it in line with my elbow. I tried it and my pitches got some good movement."
Travis also said that he sees some advantages in his strange style, "It gives a different look to hitters. Several pitches rise and change planes. I get unusual movement on my fastball."
Life for Travis is great, "It's great to be playing a game and getting paid for it. Married life to Allison is great."
We talked about the difference between college ball and pro ball. "Everybody is a lot better, the game is faster, the fielders are better and the ball players are more disciplined." Travis added, "I am not where I want to be, I always want to get better. I have to keep growing or I won't make the next level."
Ball players usually have host families that help take care of them but Travis is almost a host family in reverse. Travis and Allison have two guys in wheel chairs, with hand movement only. The Barnett's hang out with them, do things for them. All these two guys have is watching baseball, they love the team.
Travis has a personal motto "Quitters never win, winners never quit but those who never win and never quit are idiots." Playing baseball has always been a dream of Travis', "I love it, it is all out or nothing."