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March 5, 2024 47 mins

In this episode of 'The Book of Joe Podcast', Joe Maddon and Tom Verducci welcome top prospect Travis Bazzana.  The Oregon State second baseman talks about growing up in Australia and what has led him to this point in baseball! Joe has worked with Australian coaches and compares baseball to playing cricket.  Tom talks comps and the major league players that Travis would compare himself to.  Travis' goal this year was to be the best hitter in College Baseball, but how does he feel about being the top pick in the Draft?  

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
The Book of Joe Podcast is a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:14):
Hey, Ary, welcome back.

Speaker 1 (00:15):
It's the latest episode of the Book of Joe Podcast
with me, Tom Verducci and of course Joe Madden and Joe.

Speaker 2 (00:22):
We've got a really special guest today.

Speaker 1 (00:25):
If you're a fan of college baseball at all, you
know all about Travis Bozana. He is one of the
top players in college baseball. And actually, Joe, it's interesting
people are talking about him being at the top of
the draft selection this year, which is unusual.

Speaker 2 (00:43):
He plays second base.

Speaker 1 (00:44):
I know, Travis, we can talk about You've got a
lot of versatility.

Speaker 2 (00:47):
You can play all over the diamond.

Speaker 1 (00:48):
But as far as second baseman go of the draft,
you've got Ricky Weeks is the only second basement picked
in the top five ever in the draft. So besides that,
Travis is from Australia, which is groundbreaking in and of
a time self in terms of being drafted that high. So, Travis,
I know there's some people refer to you as the

(01:10):
wonder from down Under. I've also heard Basmanian Devil. Tell
me what your Orgon State teammates call you.

Speaker 3 (01:19):
They just called me Baz. Yeah, nothing to to in
depth like that. But the Twitter world definitely makes up
some crazy nicknames.

Speaker 1 (01:28):
Yeah, they have some fun. Hey, it's talking about talking
about having fun. Tell me what it's been like this year,
because let's face it, you know, I had a couple
of great years there at Oregon State, but now the
attention on you has really gone next level draft class year.
What's it been like for you in terms of how
much fun it remains, how much pressure there is, how
much talk about the draft and scouts following you around.

(01:50):
How has this year been playing out for you at
Oregon State.

Speaker 3 (01:53):
It's been great. I'm super lucky to see his team
is like got the ultimate trust in each other, and
it's sort of a free and easy feeling being at
the every day and being in between the lines and competing,
so everyone's kind of pulling for the for the same
goal and that's the win in Omaha. And it's making everything,

(02:14):
I guess considerably easier. I'm able to navigate kind of
the noise a little better, and I have good mentals,
good people around me that have sort of prepared me
for this. And yeah, it's going really well and we're
having success.

Speaker 4 (02:26):
I just ask a question, who's you just mentioned mentors.
I'm big on that.

Speaker 5 (02:30):
Coming from Australia, I've had a lot of players. I've
worked with a lot of guys from down there in
the past. Just curiously, like, who who is your guys
down there in Australia, who are your coaches? Anybody that
we might know from back up here.

Speaker 3 (02:43):
Yeah, down in Australia, it was Brian Roland Smith and
Trent Alcina were the two sort of biggest mentors when
I was growing up. And then one you've definitely had
a lot of big moments with that was only briefly
as I was getting recruited was Grant Balfol balf Okay,
he was sort of a part of it, but yeah,

(03:05):
they were my biggest mentals in the on the Australian
side was Trent and Ryan.

Speaker 4 (03:10):
With age, did you really get started with this?

Speaker 5 (03:12):
I mean you have probably like when you were six,
seven eight years of age, when did you really fall
in love with baseball?

Speaker 3 (03:18):
I think three is all really okay. I thes photos
and videos and of me playing when I was three
four and just like loving it at the field, and
I have memory of being at that five six three
five six, like I gen'tinely remember those times in the
field with some of my best friends growing up and
watching my brothers and hanging out with my brother's teammates.

(03:40):
I have two older brothers, so I was I was
around it from a young age, and I was in
love with it from then.

Speaker 5 (03:47):
Truth be told, I've always wanted to go there. I've
always wanted to go to Australia. That's always held like
this mental image for me, you know, the land down under,
the of course, the opposite seasons, all that kind of
good stuff. I wanted to actually get involved with baseball
there at an earlier junction that never really transpired. But
it's so interesting to me how you guys have really

(04:09):
taken to the game so well, and there's been so
many really good Major League Baseball players Grant. Grant and
I continue to be good friends at Trent Durrington also
at the Angels back in the day. He's also a
middle infielder from your neck of the woods there. So anyway,
I'm just I just wanted to touch on that because
I know that people realize to the extent where baseball

(04:30):
is that popular in Australia, and you've had some kind
of like winter League, minor league kind of teams there
over the past several years, and it's great here. It's
another great source of future Major League Baseball players.

Speaker 1 (04:43):
Well, I was lucky enough to go to Australia on
my honeymoon. Spent a month there and absolutely loved it.
We didn't get to Western Australia, but up and down
the coast, Barrier, Reef, you name it, and Travis I was.
Besides the natural beauty there which is amazing. Definitely recommend
that trip to anybody.

Speaker 2 (05:01):
It is worth the flight.

Speaker 1 (05:03):
The people are outstanding, Oh my goodness, just so friendly,
fun loving. But I got to be honest with the Travis,
I didn't see a lot of baseball fields went over
I was in Australia. So I know you played a
lot of cricket growing up, and obviously you played in
high school. You were a wicket keeper opening batsman for
your team that won the first ever championship in New

(05:24):
South walesy or high in New South Wales for high school.
So my question is how do you balance baseball and
cricket as you're growing up.

Speaker 3 (05:33):
Yeah, the balance was pretty heavily lopsided to baseball. I
think a lot of my best friends were playing cricket
and I was playing with them and enjoying it thoroughly,
but I was always putting in the extra work for baseball.
It was like my dreams and aspirations were with baseball,
but I still loved getting out there and playing cricket

(05:53):
with my friends and and and put the time into
that too. So yeah, it was. It was pretty lopsided.
I'd say, like, I be hitting baseballs before I went
to go play my cricket game. But yeah, I had
a great time playing cricket and did miss the sport
after I fully kind of committed to baseball at sixteen.

(06:16):
But yeah, it was it was always sort of Baseball
was the focus and cricket was just another enjoyable hobby.

Speaker 5 (06:22):
Could ask a question there, because this is something that
I tried to delve into. I was a hitting coach
for many years in the minor leagues with the Angels,
and one of the drills I did was from a
shorter distance, and I wanted smaller baseballs that weighed more
than a regular baseball. I wanted to improve your vision
with a smaller ball coming at you from thirty three
feet at about ninety five miles An hour. And then

(06:45):
there was the other component that I really wanted to
accomplish was like a little bit of a heavier ball.
So I researched cricket balls and then I finally found one.
I think I was up in Seattle really what that
seemed in the middle. But my point is it was heavier,
and I was really curious what it would be like
to get a bunch, like a bucket of cricket balls

(07:06):
and use them off of a tier or and short
toss whatever, just to feel the resistance of the heavier
ball off the bat. Question is the fact when you
played baseball and cricket simultaneously, did it just feel as
though the ball came off your bat a little bit hotter?

Speaker 4 (07:20):
Did it just? Was there something about it? The pretty
much that's it. I mean that feeling that the.

Speaker 5 (07:26):
Ball really jumped a little bit more when you hit
the cricket ball and then dropped down to the baseball weight.

Speaker 4 (07:31):
Did it? Did it matter? Yeah?

Speaker 3 (07:33):
I never thought about it in the moment of like
the contrast between the heavier ball and not And there's
sort of some other variables in there because you're using
a completely different bat. But I do know that like
hitting a cricket ball, there's sort of a greater feedback
when you hit it out of the middle, they would
call it, which is the barrel of that essentially equivalent,

(07:56):
there's a there's a heavy feedback, and it feels like
you're in contact with the ball for a little bit
longer period, I would say. But again, I never really
thought about the difference between like, oh, I just hit
a cricket ball, now the baseball feels different.

Speaker 4 (08:12):
That's cool.

Speaker 5 (08:12):
No, I played fast pitched softball as a kid when
I was about twenty or so nineteen, and then I
played in a really good hardball league.

Speaker 4 (08:21):
Simultaneously, I was Atlantic Collegian baseball.

Speaker 5 (08:25):
He was a really good summer league for college guys, right,
and damn, I never I mean, I felt like I
had all the time in the world based on the
fact that I went from short distance at high velocity
to sixty feet six inches good velocity, but it seems slower.
But the big thing difference was after hitting that heavier
softball that you really had to square up otherwise you
just pop it up or roll it over, and then

(08:47):
it hit a baseball. Damn, it just felt like the
ball just jump better. I thought and that's a drill
I've been trying to recreated. Did recreate eventually I got
the smaller balls that had a little bit more weight
from thirty three feet And I've always liked that concept
because to me, hitting so much of hitting is feel,
and when you accomplish a feel about it, then you

(09:09):
actually know what you're doing. Until you can say I
feel it, you don't really know what you're doing. That's
been part of my concepts with teaching hitting.

Speaker 1 (09:18):
So Travis, when you're growing up in Australia, even though
you're drilling a lot with baseball, not a lot, not
the same number of opportunities I imagine here in America in
terms of playing travel ball, showcase events, things like that,
just game reps.

Speaker 2 (09:31):
I listened years ago.

Speaker 1 (09:32):
I talked to Jason Hayward when he got to the
major leagues and that was when travel ball was really
booming for the first time, and he told me he
played more than one hundred games a year when he
was fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, so he's getting five hundred plus
at bats during the course of a year. What was
it like for you, How much baseball did you actually
play and when did you get the idea that hey,

(09:53):
I want to go play in America play college baseball,
because not a lot of Australians have done that.

Speaker 3 (09:58):
Yeah, well, the games thing is interesting. You play in
clubs and like local representative teams kind of like travel ball,
but you don't travel that often. It's like a little
league format almost for all of junior baseball. And I
would say year round, I was probably playing maybe thirty

(10:20):
thirty five games, and then some years it was probably
less growing up, but half of those games were more
uncompetitive because they were like sort of scrimmage games because
you're kind of just gearing up for the big one
competition a year which everyone cares about, like the national championship.

(10:43):
And yeah, it's just different, like you have to make
the training environment considerably more challenging and sort of make
a game out of out of practice and look to
kind of find feedback in different different things, just up

(11:04):
the velocity of the machine every day in practice, and
just try to make more game like scenarios outside of
those games. And then it was also like playing playing
up age groups for me helped. I was playing with
kids multiple years older than me my whole childhood. And
then once I got to fifteen, I was playing with men,
So those games became valuable to me because it's like

(11:28):
you're not playing every day or doubleheaders multiple times a week.
It was like I was preparing the whole week for
the game on Saturday, and I'm gonna go out and
give it my own care about every single pitch, every
single at bat. And I think that made those game
reps just more valuable because they didn't come in a
plethora of like one hundred games. It was every game

(11:49):
was huge. It was the biggest event of the week
for me. So yeah, I think I missed like part
of your question if you could kind of repeat what
I missed.

Speaker 2 (11:57):
Yeah, sure.

Speaker 1 (11:58):
The other part of that, by the way, Yeah, you
were fifteen years old when you started playing in the
Australian Baseball League and guys are ten fifteen years older
than you, so that's playing up. But my thought was,
my idea was when did the thought occur to you
that you wanted to go to America to play college
baseball because not a lot of Australians have done that.

Speaker 3 (12:16):
Yeah, so I knew I wanted to be a major
league baseball player. That was my dream since young. But
how that path was going to turn out sort of
came to me much later. I think I only started
really knowing that I have a good chance of going
to college baseball as the pathway at probably fourteen. And like,

(12:37):
I'm a fourteen year old in Australia, and with the
Internet and social media, I'm seeing these kids my age
already committed to Power five schools and all the top
kids in the world that I'm comparing myself to back
in Australia, like already committed to top colleges, and I'm like, okay,
I should probably look into this, and I started to
delve into it. As a sixteen year old, You've come

(12:57):
an international free agent in Australia. So there was sort
of that path and then the college path. And previous
to me coming to Oregon State, it was the Australians
that went to college generally went to junior college and
if they went to a Division one, it was usually
a smaller mid major. And so the word and advice

(13:20):
from me for the most part from Australia was that
I should go seek out a junior college and get
playing time and kind of move on from there and
move up the ranks. But lucky enough, I had some
good mentors that told me they thought they've seen a
lot of American kids, and they think that I can
go to a quality Division one college. And I started
to sort of look into the best baseball programs with

(13:41):
the richest winning histories and the best ability to develop
players and kind of made a list and then came
over to a tournament in the US and tried to
get a college scholarship and the opportunities I got given
one being Oregon State was like the perfect thing for
me because I felt like I was someone that was
going to show my value in the game and progress

(14:03):
through playing a lot of games and being a competitor
in between the lines and just being able to compete
against my American pas in college was going to be
huge to kind of find value and become a better
player for me because I feel like I developed a
little later.

Speaker 5 (14:18):
So did you recruit Oregon State or did they recruit you?

Speaker 3 (14:22):
They recruited me. I was at a tournament. They saw
me play and like what they saw, that's awesome.

Speaker 4 (14:29):
Well done.

Speaker 1 (14:29):
Well, you've got a fabulous approach at the plate. I know,
besides your physical skills, Travis, you really love to dive
into the analytical side of the game, the psychology of
the game. You devote a lot of time to it.
We're gonna take a quick break. We get back. I
don't know if you've heard this before, but I'm going
to give you my comp for you, Travis, a guy
that you remind me at the plate, and we'll see

(14:51):
if if you agree or disagree, we're back right after this.
All right, Travis has been tearing it up at Oregon State,
by the way, getting better and better each year. I'm

(15:13):
gonna quickly give you his year by year slash lines.
Freshman year three zero six, four twenty.

Speaker 2 (15:18):
Five, four seventy six. That's a monster year.

Speaker 1 (15:21):
He's just getting started though, Sophomore year three seventy four,
five hundred six twenty two, and now this year as
a draft elible junior.

Speaker 2 (15:32):
So far, he's not done yet.

Speaker 1 (15:34):
Folks four thirty two, five eighty three, ten twenty three slug.
I'd love to see that arc, Travis, where when people
know you're a dangerous hitter and you're getting better and better,
especially on the slug side, that to me is so impressive,
because you know every pitcher now is game planning against you,

(15:54):
trying not to get get you pitches to hit and
you're still doing your damage. That's so impressive to me.
And I mentioned your your approach at the plate, Travis.
It's a little bit interesting art with the bat flat
behind you, but you get into a really, really good,
powerful balance position. I love the lake kick because there's
no drift in your body at all. It's so powerful
and balanced and as connected of a swing as I've seen,

(16:16):
the way you just stay inside the baseball.

Speaker 2 (16:18):
So when I watch you swing, I see a little
bit of Corbyn Carroll.

Speaker 1 (16:22):
It's it's not an exact comp but in terms of
the efficiency of using the body, because corbyin not a
big guy when you stand next to him, but the
ball jumps off his bat. I'm not sure if you
heard that before, Travis, but give me your take on
whether it's Corbyn Carroll or somebody else that you maybe
look at and say, I like the way that guy
goes about hitting.

Speaker 3 (16:42):
Tell him that's like, honestly, probably one of the favorite
comps like I've ever gone, because right now in the game,
Colbyn's one of my favorite players. He's just dynamic, good
person on and off the field, and obviously a lefty swinger.
Runs well. I love that. I think I think we're
both a little bit funky now set up and and

(17:03):
just yeah, ability to hit the ball pods, all parts
of the field and just have the right process going
out and competing and playing the game hard. So yeah,
I can see it. And obviously Colbyan is a major
league star, so I'm not going to say I'm like
the same kind of hitter as Colbyn, but yeah, he's

(17:23):
someone swing that I watch like it's right now for me,
it's probably Colbyn want So too. They're probably my two
main guys when I look up to big league hitters
is like, what they're doing is there's a lot of
things I can take away from it. So that's that's awesome.
I love it.

Speaker 5 (17:41):
Just did you just morph into that? Did you intentionally
try to emulate different hitters? Did you have a hitting
coach that tried to put you in a certain position?
Is your body just kind of like working naturally based
on how you grew up as a kid. What do
you got philosophically as you're hitting approach.

Speaker 3 (17:59):
Everything's come from fields. And I didn't have a hitting coach,
which growing up okay, and it was all going to
the cage and just like feeling things and trying things,
trying drills from a super young age that I saw
on the internet, trying to hit like big League is
that I watched their highlights from that day when I
went to the cage that night, and just feeling things

(18:21):
out and listening to as much information or watching as
much like I could about hitting and then just learning
how to kind of apply it to myself and filter
all that as like, oh, their care this might work
for me, this will this won't. That feels good, that doesn't.
And I've kind of taken that self evaluation, self kind

(18:44):
of critique approach with hitting for a long time. And
I'm yeah, I wouldn't say I've emulated any hitters throughout,
but like I'm not emulating one, but I'm trying to
like take from all of them essentially, like just figure
out why they have success. Like I've kind of had
the approach that like there's a reason behind the success

(19:05):
of these big leagues, like they're doing something that others
are not, and just trying to search for those things
and see if I can feel them and make those adjustments.
So I say, not one hitter, but just feeling things
out feeling what works, and then just trying to get
the feedback and information I can to sort of understand
if it's working or off for myself.

Speaker 4 (19:28):
Well, you've been teaching yourself.

Speaker 5 (19:29):
Well, I mean, I've not seen all this that Tommy's
talking about, but those numbers are ridiculous to be able
to progress over the course of a couple of years,
to start at that level then eventually where you're.

Speaker 4 (19:41):
At right now. And I know you're not satisfied.

Speaker 5 (19:43):
And I could see the humility within everything that you do,
and I could tell the drive that you have. But
it's just an I love and I can't agree with
you more. Use the word feel a lot right there. Yes,
there's always information, data, video, whatever. But at the end
of the day, I think really good hitters feel things
and you see things. You probably see the ball really well.

(20:06):
You probably are able to slow things down. You probably
have a really good process in the batter's box. I
would say it's less mechanical and more visual and feel
like you're talking about. So I think that's a great
explanation and that should serve you well moving forward. I
think I like that. So you look at some of
the best hitters and there's always peculiarities about them, even
like Soda, the way he takes a pitch. I could

(20:27):
go back to stand usual, the way he closed his
stance off before he began swinging. A lot of great
hitters have things that they do indigenous to themselves. And
that's kind of what you're describing right there. Because those
numbers you put up, brother, there, I didn't know that
quite frankly. I mean, Tommy set this all up, and I'm,
you know, listening as we go along here, but those
are pretty darn good numbers. And you have to be

(20:49):
doing something innately good, great actually to be able to
accomplish that. And I commend you man, just stay with it, brother,
That's that's a great approach for me mentally as you
move this whole thing forward and should help sustain period
of time.

Speaker 1 (21:02):
And I got to ask you all your cricket experience,
are you a great low ball hitter?

Speaker 2 (21:07):
Travis?

Speaker 3 (21:09):
So it's interesting. I think I hit the lowboll pretty well,
but I definitely hit the low boll better freshman year,
or at least in comparison to how I hit the
majority of pitches. I was stronger on the low ball
as a freshman and then there was sort of a
postural adjustment that happened in between my freshmen and sophomore year,
which sort of put me on plane to the higher

(21:31):
pitch a little better, and that was sort of a
goal of mine. It was a little flatter and a
little more inducive to quality contact, to like a fastball
sort of riding at the top of the zone, and
that was an adjustment I made, and then it helped
me with breaking balls. But I'd have to look up
the splits on low balls, but I think I, yeah,

(21:52):
I wouldn't say I'm dominant to the low ball over
the higher pitch, but yeah.

Speaker 1 (21:57):
Well I mentioned now you're slugging is gone up here,
And I know you've talked about this in terms of
back spitting the baseball, and I remember years ago watching
Sean Green and Carlos Delgado with the Toronto Blue Jays
every day in VP working, you know, on a major
league field in the major leagues, I'm back spinning the baseball,
and it's something a lot of fans don't pay attention to.

(22:20):
And I know, and those guys were established big leaguers.
Travis still working on it. If that's something that you
worked on this year and seen results from I'm curious
to know because it's it's like next level stuff. How
have you gone about doing that and how comfortable are
you with the results so far.

Speaker 3 (22:37):
Yeah, it's been a long process. I started trying to
understand how to have pure ballfly to the pool side
at fifteen sixteen because I was always very my swing
started very slappy as a kid. I was you could say,
a general like slap speed contact guy. All growing up.
I didn't really hit for much slug and I used

(23:00):
my speed and hit the ball off his field a lot,
and that kind of meant that the way I swung
was super linear and very vertical with my bat, and
I wasn't really able to see the ball travel to
the pull side, and so I was searching for that
And it was a long process and I still am
because I'd often kind of I feel like being right

(23:21):
arm dominant and just swinging the way I did for
a long time growing up. It makes me sort of
rip out of my posture quite often, and then that
results in that top spin to the pool side. So
it's been a process of just like as many reps
as I can of like when the balls on the
inner half, being able to hold my posture like almost

(23:43):
downhill and keep this like front side downhill versus ripping
up to the ball to get to it to create space.
So creating space in my setup in my move to
where I can then just trust a rotation and flat
through that inside pitch and see it sort of backs
me into the pull side. Because as a sort of

(24:04):
like a five to eleven, two hundred pound guy, it's
I'm not going to have the six to seven Aaron
judge behind the ball every time, but I've got to
find ways to create the slug. And one of those
ways is that when I swear the ball up to
the pull side or turn on an inside pitch, I'd
want that to be backspun so that it can carry
the outfielder and slug and help the team win. So yeah,

(24:27):
it's been constant reps in different environments and restrictions in
the training to where I have to focus on the
ball flight, feedback more and make the right moves to
then get to that pitch. But it's been reps to
sort of train the posturl like leak that I had
out of my swing that I just trust the move
to the inside pitch and it's spins correctly off my back.

Speaker 4 (24:50):
I love the way he did that, though.

Speaker 5 (24:51):
Man, I've had some really good hitters historically that started
in the opposite side of the field. They'll learn how
to pull the ball as you got a bigger, stronger,
and older. Everything you're talking about right on the money.
I could talk about Garrett Anderson, Jimmy Edmonds, Tommy Salmon.
I mean, I had these guys into minor league. Is
all really good OPO hitters, line drive APO hitters. Everybody
was complaining, like when they're going to pull the ball,
When you're going to make them pull the ball, when

(25:11):
they're going to pull way, I said, listen, just just
let them get bigger, stronger, and they're going to figure
out the technique. And then pitchers start throwing home runs
more than hitters hit home runs. So the progress, the
method you're incorporating, I think is right on the money.
Your explanations are really good. I mean Tommy brought that
up early on. I mean, obviously you've studied this well
and your explanation, your method of describing things is right

(25:33):
on the money, too, So I could see where you're
going to get to that point to eventually handle that
insight pitch well and get it in the air, backspin
it power that ball to the pull side. Outstanding, brother,
I'm I'm just comment because I'm listening, man. But again,
the progress of going OPO gap young to being able
to pull the ball later, that's to me the right
way to do things.

Speaker 1 (25:53):
And Travis, you are obviously part of this generation now
that has a ton of technology, data and information at
your disposal, and I know that you like to dive
in into a lot of that stuff. So give me
a sense of what you like the information that you
find to be applicable to making you a better baseball

(26:14):
player and not just noise.

Speaker 3 (26:16):
Yeah, I think the biggest things for me on that
side of things has been like breaking down my game
to a deeper level in the off season. I think
that's where I've seen the biggest jumps is like, Okay,
freshman year, I have the data of like I can
figure out my strengths and weaknesses to a greater level

(26:37):
and then attack that before the next season when I'm
gonna go compete in between the White Lions and just
do it. But it's allowed me to be more intentional
with my training, So like freshman year was Okay, the
numbers say that I'm chasing and hit his counts way
more than I should. Okay, what does that tell me? Oh,
every time I got to a hit his count I'm like,
now's my time to slug or do something good, and

(26:59):
I'm trying to do too much. And then all of
a sudden, I'm able to make that change next year
and hit accounts and understand that all right, now I'm
going to even more, like shrink it even more and
really hunt a pitch that I can damage. So that
was one thing freshman year, and it was like, oh,
I struggled with the heater up freshman year and I
and I didn't slug breaking balls at all, And so

(27:19):
I found the resources I could and watched the hitters
that slug breaking balls and hit fastballs up and made
the changes, which was mainly a postural thing to then
make that adjustment. And then after last year, it's again
just diving into the the depths of my approach and
where I'm missing and where I'm slugging and then start

(27:41):
to like sort of try to train those things and
make improvements. So I think the biggest things has been, yeah,
just being able to understand where I'm strong and where
I'm weak and know that I've got time to work
on those things. But I've always been able to be
in the game and just compete and have a good
process and go and win win ball games and win pitches.

(28:04):
But I think it's just been understanding myself. And I'm
I feel like because I've a lot of my baseball
growth has been fairly self taught and trying things myself
in the cages and like with my training programs, kind
of building things myself growing up. I've learned how to

(28:24):
apply and filter information better and with the research, I
can kind of filter it better than some other like
some of my peers, And so I think I can
use those things. And again it's just picking and choosing
the right times. But I like being able to see
where I'm at and know all right now, I'm going
to use like objective feedback to get better.

Speaker 2 (28:48):
Yeah, fascinating stuff.

Speaker 1 (28:49):
I mean, as I mentioned at the top, more than
just skill and talent, there's a lot behind what Travis
is doing here to make them one of the top
picks in the Major League draft. Before we let you go, Travis,
a couple of quick hits here. I just want to
touch on some things and you can just we'll just
rift through some topics. Don't have to get deep into
the woods. But a couple of the things I did

(29:09):
want to ask you about. You are a psychology major, correct,
How does that help you on a baseball field?

Speaker 3 (29:16):
Some classes do, some classes don't. But it's just like
again learning learning more about myself and my teammates and
my just like the people around me, and how to
be a be a better person and understand feel of
situations and like just be able to communicate better. There's
there's so much behind psychology, and I think that there's

(29:37):
little nuggets I can take from different things I learned
getting the degree.

Speaker 1 (29:41):
And I understand meditation is a big part of your
game prep or maybe daily prep.

Speaker 3 (29:46):
Yep, yeah, no. I I have always been pretty amped up,
pretty high energy, kind of reactive player, and then once
I learned how to kind of slow down a little
bit pregame, I think that helped me just be clear
and smooth to pitch and not have impulsive kind of
decision making. And it's definitely helped me. And it's a

(30:09):
daily thing, especially game day.

Speaker 4 (30:11):
When do you do it? Do you do it in
the morning when you wake up. Do you do it
before the game? Do you take a break?

Speaker 3 (30:15):
It's pre game, after batting practice. I've spend twenty twenty
five minutes either doing a guide in meditation ornpping, and
then we actually have a mental skills coach who does
it with the team almost every day, so there's that.
It's in my pregame and then before bed if I
kind of need a wine down or just some other stuff.

Speaker 4 (30:31):
How long you've been doing that, I'm just curious.

Speaker 3 (30:34):
I actually started doing some meditation when I was fifteen,
but really only been a staple in what I'm doing,
Like it's been consistent since freshman year, since in college.

Speaker 4 (30:45):
I think that's awesome.

Speaker 2 (30:46):
So you're taking care of your mind. How about the body.

Speaker 1 (30:48):
I know it's not always easy and being in college
to eat right, but tell me about your nutrition and
training as far as diet goes.

Speaker 3 (30:55):
Yeah, we lucky enough to have a lot of good
resources here at Oregon State, and they provide us some
good meal prep stuff and also a breakfast table and
some other things, so we get the opportunity to eat
pretty clean. But yeah, I'm my roommates and I have
fairly on top of things, and when we get a

(31:15):
chance to cook, it's usually pretty clean steak, vegetables, and
it's just a good variety of foods, but pretty on
top of things. And this part of the season is
just making sure that I'm eating enough and eating clean
to keep myself kind of fresh and recovering and maintaining weight.
It's one thing I've learned playing a lot of games

(31:36):
since I never really played that many games growing up
and playing more games now. It's like you do spend
a lot of time in the field, and it is
easy to lose weight, and then you get to the
playoffs and you're down eight pounds from the start of
the season. You hit a ball the warning track and
you want to I think I would have been a
little stronger at the start of the seam that might
have gone. So yeah, really trying hard to maintain weight

(31:57):
right now and just continue to stay on top of
those things now.

Speaker 2 (32:00):
I know you've still got a lot of season ahead
of you.

Speaker 1 (32:03):
Obviously, O Maha is huge goal, as it is every year,
But in the back of your mind sometimes when you
put that head on a pillow, how much do you
think about the draft and is it a goal of
your is not that you could actually, you know, make
this happen yourself. But is it a goal to be
the number one pick in the draft?

Speaker 3 (32:23):
To be honest, my goal at the side of the
season was to be the best hitter in college baseball.
Understanding that, like I can't really control when it comes
down to it, whether a team, Yes, teams try to
pick the best player on the board, but like I
can't control whether they offer multiple guys and they have

(32:44):
a value of someone else. Well, there's a pitcher throwing
one hundred that dominates in his conference and is the
best pitcher in the draft, like Dylan Cruis and why
at Langford were great last year and Pole Skins was
the number one overpick. I think controlling Really it's about
my process and going about it and believing I can
be the best hitter in the country. And I think
think the draft like takes care of itself, but just

(33:07):
taking care of my process and continuing to get better
and focus on like daily just daily little things, daily tossed,
doing what I need to do, continue to pour into
teammates and be worried about winning and giving my best
like effort every time I get in the box. Every
time I'm out on the field, and that'll take care

(33:27):
of itself. But I think you could say my goal
was that I really wanted to be the best hitter
in college baseball. Was was the goal before you?

Speaker 1 (33:34):
Well, you are certainly on your way. And finally, I
know they were before your time. But Midnight Oil? Are
you into Midnight Oil? Or what's the go through band
these days in in uh down Under?

Speaker 3 (33:47):
Yeah, Midnight Oil. My dad will love that one. Yeah,
we love If there was one one band that I
liked that my dad listened to, it was Midnight All
I could always get around. Yeah, that pretty legendary and
I wouldn't say I listened to them too much anymore.
But growing up, I think I did a high school

(34:08):
project on Midnight Oil and a concert they did in
front of in front of an Exon Oil building. It
was like a protest. But anyway, I don't know. I
kind of listened to a lot of American music. Now
I feel like I'm behind on the Australian music scene.
So yeah, a little bit of country, a little bit
of hip hop rap. Whatever.

Speaker 4 (34:28):
Are you into red wine yet?

Speaker 3 (34:29):
In the red Wine?

Speaker 4 (34:30):
No, I'm not.

Speaker 3 (34:32):
I'm not a big red wine sometimes sometimes if someone's
if someone's making a really nice steak and they have
red wine, I might have some.

Speaker 5 (34:39):
But you know, you have Molly Duker down there. I
love your Molly Duker products. Are you aware of Molly
Duker I'm not aware of that you have.

Speaker 4 (34:46):
They have like.

Speaker 5 (34:46):
About twelve different products out there. When I was with
the Cubs, I mentioned him in the post game one time,
they sent me a bottle of each in a nice
little pocket. I got twelve bottles of molly Duker wine.
If you think from the boxer on up to Velvet Glove.
I'm a big fan of the wines down there too.
So when you get to that point, check out them.

Speaker 4 (35:06):
All, you dokers. They're outstanding.

Speaker 2 (35:07):
Right, that's on the two do list. There you go,
that's right, there you go. Hey, listen, Travis, we really
appreciate this.

Speaker 1 (35:14):
Anybody who's watched you play, it's a joy to watch
you play, but it's even more of a treat to
get to a chance to sit down and talk to
you and have you explain some of the things about
how you've gotten to this point. One of the best
college players out there, great future in professional baseball ahead
of you, wish you really nothing but all the best
this year and hopefully you go a long way in
Omaha this year.

Speaker 3 (35:34):
Thanks Tom, Thanks Joe, it's been awesome.

Speaker 4 (35:36):
To be on Just still.

Speaker 5 (35:38):
What you're doing, brother, with the conversation's outstanding. Your process
is on the money, just and I do know.

Speaker 4 (35:44):
You're not going to change.

Speaker 5 (35:45):
I know you for like, what is it thirty eight
minutes and fifty four seconds, whatever that says, Just stay
right with your brother.

Speaker 4 (35:51):
It's really good. Outstanding.

Speaker 1 (35:52):
Congratulations, Thank you, Joe, you got it all right thanks
to Travis Bizana. He is one of the if not
the top hitter in college baseball this year. And when
we get back, Joe and I will wrap up our
thoughts all about Travis. Joe listening to Travis, I thought

(36:20):
about kind of pretending that I was a scout or
an executive with a major league team, and as you know,
they sit down with these college top prospects and kind
of pick their brains and try to learn something about
the player, not just from a scouting viewpoint, but what's
between the ears. And I got to tell you, if
you're any major league team sitting down to talk to Travis,
you're blown away by just his mannerism, the sophistication he

(36:44):
brings to the craft of baseball, and you can tell
this guy, Joe's a baseball rat. I mean, you don't
have to worry about this guy losing any kind of
an edge or a motor as he signs a professional contract.

Speaker 2 (36:54):
He wants to be great.

Speaker 1 (36:55):
I love the fact that he said he wanted to
be the best hitter in college baseball coming in. Don't
run away from expectations. You know all about that, Joe.
I was just super impressed.

Speaker 5 (37:05):
I can't agree more. Man, I didn't know what to expect.
I know you set this up a little while last
week you told me about it.

Speaker 4 (37:13):
I was the level at which he thinks is different.

Speaker 5 (37:17):
The numbers you read early on about his progression from
his freshman year to where he's at right now or ridiculous.
But then you listen to him and you understand why. Gosh,
I thinking, like you talked about if I was an
executive listening, this is the interview I'm looking for.

Speaker 4 (37:35):
And number one.

Speaker 5 (37:36):
Number two, like, I couldn't set all that when I
was what is he twenty one whatever, he's nineteen twenty
twenty one. I didn't have those thoughts. We weren't nearly
that sophisticated when it came to a lot I'm talking
baseball now, there wasn't as much sophistication regarding how he
approaches his hitting. Just as an example, we didn't talk

(37:56):
much about his defense. He's really well thought out. He's
going to be successful, there's no question, there's not. I
don't know what the competition for number one looks like,
but it's going to be hard to imagine. I thought,
even having seen him play, just the numbers, just dissecting
the numbers themselves, Gosh, there's probably a pretty good chance

(38:18):
he's going to be one one. But that's impressive, man,
that's really impressive. They're a young man, understand himself that
when he used the word feel often, which I loved,
He's sounds like he's got a nice balance between what's
available now compared to just good old fashioned, you know,
just get in the batter's box and trying to beat
the other guy. There's everything to like about this. Felt

(38:40):
that that was a great get right there.

Speaker 1 (38:42):
Yeah, And I think actually there's another second basement one
from West Virginia who's also in the mix to be
the number one pick. That's rare to see second basement,
as I mentioned at the top of the draft, but
I can definitely see him going top three or four
and possibility of one. And again, once you sit down
with Travis, you realize that it's a good player and
it's a good head on his shoulders right there. And

(39:03):
we didn't mention Joe that, you know, in terms of
the work that he does, you made a great point
there about you know, he dives into a lot of
this stuff of the offseason. Right there's a lot of
fuel to what he does in the box, in game
time and in the season. The offseason is when he
dives into a lot of these numbers to get better.
And one of these things he did after his freshman year,
he wanted to steal more bases, so he started studying

(39:23):
the jump lead of Anthony Volpi and the Yankees, breaking
down some videos. He talked to track guys, he talked
to other guys who stole bases. He came back the
next year and stole a school record thirty six bases.
You know that that's another reason why I like the
ceiling of this kid, because he's hungry to get better
in every phase of the game.

Speaker 4 (39:43):
Do you know his defense.

Speaker 5 (39:44):
I mean you say second basement and the other kids
a second basement. Of these guys have any shortstop capabilities
abilities or is it?

Speaker 1 (39:53):
I don't see that. Just in terms of arm strengths.
I mean, he can definitely play the outfield. He's enough
of an athlete and a runner. He can cover ground
and play the outfield. So to me, he's a he's
a second baseman outfielder. At this point, I would leave
him at second base and just tell him to go hit.

Speaker 5 (40:09):
Yeah, he's the bat's got to be big if we're
going to do that, right, Yeah.

Speaker 2 (40:13):
I think so.

Speaker 1 (40:13):
I think it's to me in one of his comms
is Edward Julianna in the Minnesota Twins. Not a plus defender,
but just a terrific left handed bat. And you just
put him at second base and enough of an athlete
where you start to put the work in and he
makes himself into a very good second basement. He's not
a below average second basement, and I think with time
he can be above average second basement. But the bat

(40:35):
definitely plays, no question about it. Like I said, I
love his setup in the box. This is a little
bit funky, you know, He's got the bat flat behind
him as he starts out, but he gets it raised
and loaded position really well with a high lay kick,
but it's not a lot of movement. The foot comes up,
you know, pretty high, and it comes straight down. He's
on time. Yeah, it's easy to project this kid. I

(40:58):
mean to me, Joe, when you're looking at players to
draft and they've hit in college, especially at this level.
You know, they're playing the best college baseball around and
you look at the approach, you know, the ability to
make contact as well as hit with power.

Speaker 2 (41:12):
It's easily projectable.

Speaker 4 (41:14):
Yeah.

Speaker 5 (41:14):
Just I'm going to check it out when I get
a chance now. But to the bat starts flat, he
just got to get it up early enough, and the
foot's got to get down early enough. I'm I'm just
talking to him right there, and I know he knows that,
but I would think that the only thing that could
go wrong would be that. And then he you brought
up the cricket part of it, the low ball, kind
of like a hockey player, and then it morphed into
the second year. We got better at the high ball

(41:36):
because probably they were just pitching them elevated fastballs at
that point and he made the adjustment for that too.
To this point, it seems so it sounds like like
again he understands he's got and I like quirkiness. I mean,
I think there's a lot of great players that have
brought this up with you in the past. There's guys
that do things again I used the word indigenous to
themselves that are really good.

Speaker 4 (41:56):
I mean, it's things you don't just teach that. When
the kid comes.

Speaker 5 (41:59):
Down from Mars the spaceship lands, he gets out he
wants to be a baseball player, you pretty much go
to the ABC's of one, two, three, four. You don't
there's not a quirkiness about that. You always go from
the basic fundamental mechanics. But when guys show up like
himself grew up in Australia, wasn't around a lot of instruction,
and then just develop this feel for what he does

(42:20):
things And how do I get ready? How do you
get my foot done in time? This feels nice with
my bat laying flat. I just but I know I
got to get it up quick otherwise I'm late, late late.
Things that he's figured out on his own, I think
it's interesting. But now I'm a fan. I got to
watch them now anytime I get a chance to watch
him on a tube by shoo. But everything he talks
about makes sense, and that's that's the part I like.

Speaker 1 (42:42):
Oh, Joe, I love what you just said though about
the quirkiness. That's not a negative. Sometimes that's a feature.
Let guys be who they are until you at the
point where you know it's survival mode. You're failing to
the point where something needs to change drastically. I've always
said this, Joe, and I think it's true even in
professional baseball, but especially on the amateur side. More players
have been hurt by over coaching than under coaching, more

(43:06):
players have been heard by over coaching than under coaching.
And I love the fact that this kid grew up
kind of making his own way and not getting five
hundred bats a year, and some cookie cutter instructor is
telling him how to hit and listen. He's refining everything,
he's putting the work in. He's got mentors, he's got coaches.
That's all great, But I don't feel like he's been

(43:28):
overwhelmed as far as the instructional side, which is a
good thing.

Speaker 5 (43:32):
No, it almost sounds like you grew up in a
cold climbing in North America. The way is past. As
regarding a number of games played, I was expecting him
to like when we started it out about asking about
mentors and coaches and guys that had helped him in
the past. I was expecting a longer list, or a
more influential list. In a sense, he didn't downplay it.
I mean, there's guys there that he definitely looked up

(43:54):
to and that would help them. But at the end
of the day, it sounds like he figured it out
for himself, which to me is the best way to
learn anything is to figure it out for yourself.

Speaker 4 (44:02):
It's I can't teach you anything, I can only make
you think kind of a thing.

Speaker 5 (44:06):
And the fact that he's in the meditation and is
recognized the need to slow things down, he's done. Gosh,
the play I love the playbook. I love his playbook, man.
I would uh, the playbook's gonna get a lot of
play in the future as he gets to be more
highly recognized. If he is the number one one he
goes out there, he's very successful. That playbook is going

(44:27):
to become very popular.

Speaker 2 (44:28):
Well, we've got something to keep an eye on. A
couple of fans.

Speaker 1 (44:30):
I'm sure besides us are now going to root for
Travis and his stick here along the college baseball season
and through the Major League draft this summer. It's it
was our pleasure just kind of picking his brain. We
learned a lot listening from this young man. That's how
dialed in he is. So that being said, Joe, I'm
and ask you what you always do for us here,
and that's to take us out with something very profound.

Speaker 5 (44:52):
It is profundo profundo. I just happened upon this guy,
roy T Bennett. I guess he's from South Africa. You know, Australia.
They've got a little accent down there in South Africa too,
But kind of like a real positive thinker. I didn't
didn't realize this and lit little research on him. These
focuses on living fully in the presence. It's not success,

(45:14):
it's not how high you have client, but how you
make a positive difference in the world. That's philosophically where
the guy comes from. So anyway, the quote is follow
your heart, listen to your interervoice, stop caring about what
others think. Mister roy T Bennett, I mean, you know
you know me well enough to know that I love
that kind of individualistic component to it. It's not like

(45:34):
you're chewing anybody else, it's not like you're pushing anybody away.
But to listen to your inner voice. To me, while
probably one of the most important qualities any of us
can have in the world of influencers, and everybody wanted
to be like everybody else, and we're, you know, the
blurred edges to the point where everybody wants to be

(45:56):
the same, individuality to me still really sticks out. I
want to read the paper in the morning, I look
for articles just I just look for article. But then
when I find the one about more of the individuality
of a person and focused on really what he believes
in or she believes in and throws it out there strongly,
I really I kind of identify with that. So anyway,

(46:18):
right T. Bennett, I got to follow this guy from
now on a little bit. He's a positive thinker and
he's into the individual and I kind of like that.

Speaker 3 (46:25):
Yeah.

Speaker 2 (46:25):
I love that.

Speaker 1 (46:25):
It's a good reminder that, you know, all of us
have an inner compass and a lot of times we
just don't pay attention to it because we're so much
dialed into the exterior and what as Royd just said
there what other people think when looking within? There's a
lot of answers right there. If you follow your soul
and your heart, your mind, you can find some answers there.
And in the meantime, Joe, I think I'm gonna put

(46:48):
on a little midnight Oil.

Speaker 4 (46:49):
You cool with that, Ben, I've never heard of it.
I love the name. Are you kidding me?

Speaker 5 (46:54):
The name?

Speaker 4 (46:54):
Hell?

Speaker 5 (46:55):
I mean, oh my goodness, I love the name though,
burning the midnight Oil.

Speaker 4 (47:00):
I've done it. I've got it. Joe.

Speaker 2 (47:02):
You got to get some night oil.

Speaker 1 (47:04):
And I'm telling you you will be rolling down your
windows and cranking up the music. This is fine for you, Joe.
You will thank me later. I know where your.

Speaker 2 (47:13):
Rock and roll heart lies. Midnight Oil is right.

Speaker 5 (47:17):
And so I'm gonna stream it right after we get
done with this.

Speaker 4 (47:19):
I got a big old speaker downstairs.

Speaker 3 (47:21):
I'm going to plow it out.

Speaker 4 (47:22):
Midnight Oil.

Speaker 5 (47:23):
Love the name, and like I've said, and you've done
it too, We've both burnt the midnight.

Speaker 4 (47:28):
Oil, yes, Sarah, whether it.

Speaker 5 (47:30):
Was for pleasure or for actually working. So it's a
pretty cool, great name, great title.

Speaker 1 (47:35):
That's as much midnight oil as we have for this
edition of the Book of Joe.

Speaker 2 (47:38):
We'll see you next time, Joe.

Speaker 5 (47:39):
Thanks Tommy, be well Buddy.

Speaker 1 (47:49):
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