Ravago ready for the big leagues

A year ago today, ASU baseball fans weren't sure what to think of right-handed pitcher, Robert Ravago. He transferred from Pima Community College and was looking to make a name for himself as a Sun Devil. Throughout the 2012 season, Ravago showed he had earned his spot in the Sun Devil bullpen. He went 4-1 with one save in 27 appearances. He also had a team-best ERA of 1.00 in conference play.

Fast forward several months to the 2012 MLB Draft. In the 22nd round, the Miami Marlins had selected Robert Ravago to join their organization.

"It was all surreal," Ravago said about being drafted. "All the years of working came true in that one moment. It took a while to sink in, but after that, it was just crazy."

Ravago finished his first summer with the Marlins organization with a 2-1 record and a 3.00 ERA. With the first full season coming up, I asked Robert what he was going to take from ASU baseball and bring it to the Marlins. "The big thing is going 110 percent in everything you do" Ravago described. "It's a tradition here and you learn it. You put the pedal to the floor and see how hard you can go."

The pitcher has been spending his off-season back in Arizona. While he may be a Tucson native, the righty will be a Sun Devil for life. Even though most of the Ravago family resides in Tucson, Robert wasn't afraid to express his feeling about seeing the Wildcats win the College World Series last season.

With the classic Robert Ravago humorous tone, he recalled watching his rivals win the National Championship; "I was pretty angry," he admitted. "I don't like U of A. I was in Florida watching it and I think I threw the remote at the TV."

Because of the sanctions placed on the 2012 Sun Devil baseball team, Ravago missed out on having any post-season experiences. He does however believe the 2013 Sun Devil squad has what it takes to win it all this year.

"I wish I was here with them," Ravago stated, "but I have a good feeling they're going to take it all the way. They look really good. I saw them at practice and they're a lot of good guys. They have a lot of talent on the team this year."

Ravago wasn't the only notable Sun Devil to leave the team to the draft or graduation after his season here. ASU also lost players such as Brady Rodgers, Andrew Aplin, Jake Barrett, Joey DeMichele, and Deven Marrero. With fourteen freshmen being added to the roster this season, Ravago strongly believes in the younger guys that joined ASU and knows they will be able to make an impact as newcomers.

Additionally, he believes that the returning players will only be stronger than they were last year. "There are a lot of guys that towards the end of our season who were stepping up and were a major contribution to our team," Ravago explained. "I think they're just going to go along with that. Of course, they're going to mature and everything. I'm sure they're going to go along with it and take it all the way."

And what advice does Ravago give the Sun Devil freshmen?

"Stay strong and keep your head up," he said. "Just go with it man. It's a battle. It's a grind. Just listen to your coaches and go with it."

Sun Devil fans making their way to Packard Stadium this season will see a familiar face hanging high from the parking lot, as Ravago has earned himself a banner with his image that will be huge right across from the very ballpark he made a name for himself.

Certainly an honor for the former pitcher, as well as a good reason for a ribbing from his teammates.

"I was in Florida and Mark Lambson and Trevor Williams sent me a picture of it," Ravago recalled. "They said ‘Look, what's up poster child?' That was crazy. I had to get my parents to drive up here and look at it before I could see it.

"But when I saw it, I got a little teary-eyed, I'll be honest. It was a big surprise because I never would've thought I would be on a banner."

Time will tell if Ravago's major league career will generate another banner. He'll probably won't mind his friends giving him a hard time for that honor as well.

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