FORT WORTH, Texas. – Redshirt sophomore Mitchell Traver (5-0) has had a remarkable year at Texas Christian University. The 6 feet 7 inch 255 pound right-handed pitchers .99 ERA is seventh in the nation, and in 45.2 innings pitched he has only allowed eight runs, 10 walks, and has struck out 43 batters while holding opposing teams to a .186 batting average.
TCU (25-6, 6-3 Big 12) has been a strength not only in the Big 12 but in the nation all year long. They hold the No. 3 ranking in our College Baseball Central Top 25 poll this week, and were No. 1 in our poll for the week of March 30.
Their team ERA of 1.98 is first in the nation, and they have held opponents to a .282 batting average. Traver is a key component to that success as his WHIP is 26th in the nation (.85).
“I worked as hard as I could in the fall to be the best I could be to earn a spot to help my team win,” Traver told College Baseball Central. “As we got closer to the season I was really trying to get that Tuesday spot. Me and Brian Howard were competing for that spot, and he easily could have won it. So I was thankful for the opportunity to be able to throw. I was very thankful to get that Tuesday spot, and when he [pitching coach Kirk Saarloos] told me I was going to start Friday against USC I was ecstatic.”
If you’re not familiar with Travers incredible comeback story it’s amazing.
In 2012 he was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS). TOS is a disorder that produces symptoms of numbness in the fingers, shoulder pain, as well as arm and neck pain. There is no specific cause for the ailment, however, any condition that causes expansion or movement in the tissues of or close to the thoracic outlet can cause the thoracic outlet syndrome.
Traver under went an excruciating eight week rehab but overcame the condition.
Then Traver was forced to redshirt after sustaining an elbow injury and had to have Tommy John surgery in the fall of 2013. The surgery was successful, however, in 2014 after overcoming TJ surgery, Traver suffered yet another setback when he suffered a stress fracture in his lower back that occurred two weeks before the season started.
Handling each setback with strong faith, and enduring patience, Traver now in 2015 stands on the mound as one of the premiere pitchers in college baseball.
“First and foremost it’s a blessing to be out there after being hurt for two years,” Traver said. “The number one goal of this spring was to make it to the spring, and be able to say on opening day ‘Hey I’m healthy, I’m available,’ and I don’t think I had any specific expectations other than to be healthy.”
Drafted in the 39th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft by the Houston Astros, Traver chose to turn down the money and pursue his faith and education at TCU.
Strong is Travers arm, possessing the ability to slice through opposing teams lineups, however, stronger is this man’s faith, which he credits all of his strength too.
Named in 2013 as the TCU Fellowship of Christian Athletes Bob Lilly Athlete of the Year, make no mistake, Travers outspokenness about his faith is about more than giving lip service to God when he wins a game, he walks the talk.
“I want you to know that my faith is not my own, the Lord gave it to me,” Traver explained. “He strengthened it and brought it to life. My faith is the foundation of who I am because he enabled it to be so. He has carried me through every storm and every season, where would I be without his grace. The credit is all his, I’m just thankful he has loved me like he has. He is faithful, and full of mercy.”
The son of John and Dawn Traver, he also has a younger brother, Spencer, and a younger sister McKenna. Together with his brother, Traver administers a website to help spread the word. Sons of Thunder, Gospel Brotherhood is a site that fans and followers of Traver and faith can visit, learn more about Traver, and learn more about yourself.