VS. Team USA pic.twitter.com/4kOta0CPcZ
— Travis Hissong (@Hissong_Travis) June 27, 2013
Travis Hissong is a relief pitcher with the Trenton Thunder who has an outstanding amount of potential and could make an impact with the New York Yankees.
Travis Hissong was signed by the New York Yankees as an undrafted free agent on June 12, 2014. He is a right-handed relief pitcher from Wright State University whose has the ability to one day make a name for himself in the Yankees bullpen.
The 25-year-old has spent three seasons within the Yankees organization, splitting time between Gulf Coast, Charleston, Staten Island, Tampa, and Trenton. Every rank the right-hander has gone through in the minors, he has always found great success.
In 2016, the 25-year old finished the season 6-1 with a 1.88 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 72 innings. He was stellar in relief for Charleston, Tampa, and Trenton.
Hissong was nice enough to take time out of his offseason schedule and conduct an interview with Elite Sports NY.
Patrick Hennessy: While attending Wright State University, how did you feel the coaches there prepared you for the professional level?
Travis Hissong: Wright State University is a Mid-Major Div 1 school that has a family feel and plays at a very high level of baseball. With its strong nonconference schedule, dominance year after year in the horizon league, and a staff that has pro ball experience I feel as though it prepares student-athletes for the next level very well. It’s hard to know what to expect until you get to pro ball but Wright State develops you so that you are able to adapt to any baseball atmosphere.
Patrick Hennessy: The New York Yankees signed you as an undrafted free agent in 2014, what was your reaction when you found out?
Travis Hissong: Day after the draft it came down to signing with either the Yankees or the Dodgers. I had one year of eligibility left at Wright State but I was pretty set on starting my pro ball career. After talking it over with my family I chose the Yankees because all of their minor league teams are on the east coast so it would be easier for my family to come to games. I also grew up a Yankees fan so the decision was pretty easy for me. It was an amazing feeling to sign with the greatest franchise in sports history.
Patrick Hennessy: Were there any adjustments feel you made to your game as you transitioned from College to the minor leagues?
Travis Hissong: I think the biggest adjustment from college to pro ball was simply learning how to pitch. At times in college I was more a “thrower” rather than a pitcher. Maturing and becoming a smarter pitcher has been very important for me.
Patrick Hennessy: Was there a player you attempted to emulate and look up to as a youngster?
Travis Hissong: As a little kid I think the first jersey I purchased was a Derek Jeter jersey and I wore it to a Indians game when the Yankees were in town. I definitely looked up to Jeter. When it comes to pitchers I remember emulating many different pitchers in the backyard with my brother. Some names that stick out when I was younger were Charles Nagy and Mike Musina and as I got older guys like David Robertson and Mariano Rivera.
Patrick Hennessy: From all of the games you have played in the minor leagues, has there been an opposing hitter that has stood out to you the most?
Travis Hissong: I think one of the hitters that have stood out the most to me came from a dominant offensive lineup this year with the Reading Fightin Phils. Not Dylan Cozens or Rhys Hoskins that most would probably expect but a guy by the name of Roman Quinn. I thought he put very good at-bats together, battled well and tracked pitches well.
Patrick Hennessy: During your tenure with the Yankees organization you have spent time in Gulf Coast, Staten Island, Charleston, Tampa, and Trenton. Have there been any teammates that you think Yankee fans should keep a lookout for?
Travis Hissong: There are so many great prospects in the Yankees organization. It’s hard to put just a few names out there. Cito Culver and Kyle Holder play some great smooth defense. Guys like Jeff Hendrix and Dustin Fowler make great plays in the outfield. There is dominant pitching at every level and guys making a great case to be in the big leagues. There are so many guys who have big league stuff and I feel fortunate to play amongst them.
Patrick Hennessy: What does your current pitch repertoire look like? Is there a pitch that you currently feel most confident in?
Travis Hissong: 2-seam, 4-seam, Slider, Change. Really confident when I get two strikes that I can put people away with my slider. Believe in throwing a lot of strikes, challenging hitters and not giving hitters too much credit. Started throwing a changeup much more this year especially to lefties and it helped my success a lot.
Patrick Hennessy: You had a breakout season in 2016 where you came out of the bullpen with an amazing 1.88 ERA, was there anything you did differently in 2016 as opposed to your 2015 campaign?
Travis Hissong: I don’t know if there’s necessarily things I did different, but I definitely came out of spring training on a mission to succeed. Each time I moved up I just told myself don’t get comfortable and get to the nextI level. Baseball is a sport where you can always get better and there’s always something to improve on so it’s important to not become complacent and find a way to get 1% better each day. I tend to pitch angry with something to prove and expect success every time I’m on the mound.
Patrick Hennessy: Have you ever been able to visit Yankee Stadium?
Travis Hissong: I have only been to Yankee Stadium once and that was for a game when we had an off day when I was playing in Staten Island. It is a beautiful stadium and it would be an honor to ever get to step foot on that mound.
Patrick Hennessy: How do you spend most of your time during the offseason?
Travis Hissong: In the offseason, I work as much as possible normally racking up about 40-50 hours a week and working out and training in the evenings. On the weekends I like to mix in hunting, church, and going to sporting events.
Patrick Hennessy: Are there any aspects of your game that you are going to be focusing on improving heading into 2017?
Travis Hissong: I’m going to work hard this offseason to become an all-around better pitcher and athlete. I want to be sharper than ever. There’s always plenty to work on and get better at. I had a good year last year but I’m determined to do better. I’m confident that I can pitch in the big leagues but I have to prove my worth. I am going to work hard and put everything else in God’s hands. I have no idea what 2017 has in store but I am excited to get baseball going again and find out.