Spartans’ Alex Troop selected by Washington Nationals

By Tino Abarca

Michigan State star pitcher Alex Troop was selected 283rd overall by the Washington Nationals in the ninth round of the 2017 MLB draft.

A year removed from a season-ending hand injury, Troop returned to action to make up for lost time. His 2.47 ERA and .223 opposing batting average ranked fourth amongst Big Ten hurlers.

Those numbers were good enough to earn him an All-Big Ten second team selection. Leading the team’s staff in ERA, innings pitched, wins and games started, the Spartans relied heavily on the left hander. Never wavering, the Spartans voted him their Robin Roberts Most Valuable Pitcher.

Troop, a Batavia, Ill. native, wasn’t only a force on the mound, but at the plate as well. He ranked fourth on the team in batting average, hitting a solid .321, while leading in slugging and on-base percentage. His two-way efforts did not go unnoticed, as he is listed as one of five finalists for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award.

Despite being a threat at the plate, many see Troop as a pitcher in the pros. Listed at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, his appearance is almost as intimidating as his arsenal. The big left hander mixes speeds well, featuring his 90’s fastball with incredible run away from lefties, and cut to righties.

His command rarely struggles, walking only 29 hitters in 83 2/3 innings of work. But if he finds himself in trouble, Troop relies on his curveball and changeup. His length on the mound is an advantage as he springs towards the hitter, which gives them little reaction time.

The Nationals have picked a number of left-handed pitchers so far in this year’s draft. Troop is the third lefty the Nationals selected through nine rounds. Other than Gio Gonzalez, the Nationals haven’t had a left-hander make an impact in recent years. They clearly look to fix that problem with this year’s selections.