(Photo via Lakeland Muskies Men’s Baseball site, seen here)
The Lakeland Muskies are a Division III program with an unexpected star: first baseman Travis Regalado. In his sophomore campaign, Regalado registered a .415 batting average, and he is still improving.
This offseason, Regalado suffered a slight meniscus injury. According to Associate Head Coach Sean Repay, Regalado could have played in fall ball, but the Muskies’ coaching team decided to give him more time to rehabilitate instead of risking further injury for fall ball. Regalado used that chance to get in the best shape of his career.
“He is in tremendous shape; the best shape he’s been in his career so far,” said Coach Repay. “As long as he keeps working, things will come together for him.”
That’s been the story of Regalado’s college career so far: keep working so it will come together. During Regalado’s freshman year he batted .262 and was a starting pitcher during conference play. His sophomore year, he transitioned to being a closer instead of a starter, and his bat exploded due to the extra time he was able to devote to playing first.
More than that, Regalado worked on his mental game. According to Coach Repay, Regalado’s mental maturity is unmatched by most other players his age, but he worked to get to that point after struggling his freshman year. Coming out of a high school circuit that he dominated, struggling was new to him in college ball. However, as a sophomore, Regalado committed himself to taking failure as a chance to improve, and he’s never looked back.
One example is with his directional hitting. After teams began to shift on him, Regalado committed himself to hitting with power all over the field. Rather than letting the challenge get him down, Regalado used it as an opportunity to become a more versatile player, and it clearly paid off.
“He’s got a gift to…turn information into physical action really quick,” said Coach Repay. Rather than observing an issue and dwelling on it, Regalado now springs into action and works until the issue is resolved. This type of initiative has made him into one of the best bats in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference, earning him a spot on the NACC All-Conference Second Team roster.
His work ethic hasn’t gone unnoticed even in an offseason where he wasn’t able to work with his coaches as much. His teammates and toughest critics say he’s made huge strides from where he was last season.
Continuing to make strides will be important for Regalado if he wants to get noticed for the MLB draft. Coach Repay says he’s aware there’s interest around Regalado already, but being part of a DIII program means Regalado will have to be even more impressive as time goes on.
“Do I think he’s pro-caliber? I do,” said Coach Repay. “Do I think he’s a finished product? I don’t. He’s got so much to grow and learn. He’s not capped yet, there’s much more there.” Luckily, Regalado has continually proved that, if there are improvements to be made, he can make them, and he’s not afraid to take on challenges to become even better than he already is.