The Oklahoma City RedHawks have three pitchers on their roster who were first-round draft picks. But it was Nick Tropeano who was selected to the Pacific Coast League All-Star Game.
Selected in the fifth round three years ago out of Stony Brook (N.Y.), Tropeano is showing the Astros that their No. 15-ranked prospect might be more prepared to pitch in the majors than some of Houston’s higher rated prospects.
“Getting selected to the All-Star Game is such an honor,” Tropeano said. “My parents, friends and family members, they all texted me. Everyone was so excited.”
Tropeano, who is currently on the seven-day minor league disabled list, was projected to pitch in the upcoming home series against Round Rock. After he threw a simulated game Saturday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, the team decided to play it safe.
Tropeano now is projected to rejoin the rotation later this week when the RedHawks leave for a road trip that begins Friday in Nashville.
The minor injury — tightness in the forearm — prevented Tropeano from pitching against the International Leagues in the Triple-A All-Star Game, but he’s encouraged by how he’s pitched.
“It started when I got invited to big league camp and was then sent to Triple-A,” Tropeano said. “I felt I opened some eyes, turned some heads. I just wanted to start off the year strong and keep running with it.”
Tropeano is 6-4 with a 2.38 ERA. His most impressive stat: He’s held opposing hitters to a .197 average, surrendering only 61 hits in 87 innings.
“The key for me is being aggressive, go right after hitters,” Tropeano said. “One of my goals is to get them out with one of the first three pitches. I’m a pitch-to-contact guy, but later in the count I sometimes try to put them away depending on the situation.”
RedHawks teammate Alex White was selected 15th overall. Michael Foltynewicz was selected 19th, and Asher Wojciechowski was taken 41st overall.
Tropeano was the 160th overall pick.
“He mixes up his pitches, but what really stands out is he’s extremely competitive,” said RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco. “He will battle you, which helps him get out of some tough jams.”
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