Reds infield prospect Travis Mattair was not one of the four infielders fortunate enough to be invited to Major League Spring Training as a non-roster player.
However, the Washington native did make his way over to the big league complex in Goodyear, Ariz., shortly after the team played its first spring game against the Cleveland Indians on Feb. 26 and has been impressive enough to be included on the club's spring travel roster of late.
The 25-year-old was originally selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the second round of the June 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He played in the Phillies' system from 2007-09, but stepped away from the game for a year as he pursued his childhood dream of playing college basketball. Mattair enrolled at Boise State University following the 2009 season to clear up what he called a "what if" in his life.
"Once I was at BSU and was fulfilling my basketball dream, I realized what I was missing," Mattair said in an interview with Fox Sports in 2012. "It made me realize what joy baseball gives me. It might have set me back a little in my career but I never would have had the joy and love for the game of baseball if I had never stepped away. I don't want to say I took the game for granted but in a way I did, and when I went to BSU I realized all of this and I am better off because of it."
Mattair returned to the Phillies organization for the 2011 season and was acquired by the Reds in the Triple-A phase of the 2011 Rule 5 Draft.
Thus far, Mattair has been nothing but impress since coming to the Reds organization two years ago. He spent the 2012 season with the Class A-Advanced Bakersfield Blaze and put together his best season as a professional. The slugger with a 6-foot-4-inch. 226-pound frame hit for a .274/.344/.465 slash line to go along with 19 home runs and 82 RBI, which were good for second and first, respectively, among all Reds minor leaguers. Following his impressive season, Mattair was named an Organizational All-Star by MiLB.com
Last season, his first at the Double-A level, Mattair continued to hit for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. He ended the season with a .242 average and his 13 home runs and 57 RBI not only led the team, but also set franchise records.
Mattair was invited to play in the prestigious Arizona Fall League for the second consecutive year following the 2013 season. Since 1992, approximately 60 percent of the league's more than 2,300 players have gone on to play at the Major League level. Additionally, 198 All-Stars, 11 MVP's and three Cy Young Winners have emerged from the Arizona Fall League.
It's uncertain which corner infield position the young prospect projects better at, but the organization won't likely be concerned as long as he continues to hit.
Mattair relieved Chris Nelson at third base in his first appearance of the spring against the Colorado Rockies on March 1 and put together a 2-for-2 performance from the plate. He now has two hits in four at-bats to go along with one stolen base.