Tropeano’s fastball is clocked between 90 and 93 mph but has the reputation of “pitching,” moving the ball in and out, hitting his spots. He uses all four pitches — fastball, change-up, slider and a curve.
“The game speeds up a little at every level,” Tropeano said. “At this level, the hitters are more consistent. It makes you work hard every pitch.”
The West Islip, N.Y., product pitched well in the Cape Cod summer league following his sophomore year at Stony Brook. Tropeano followed with a dominating year (12-1, 1.84 ERA, 119 strikeouts) for the Seawolves.
He signed quickly after the draft, notching a 2.36 ERA in 53 innings for Tri-City of the New York-Penn League. Two years ago, he was a combined 12-7 with a 3.02 ERA for the Astros’ two Class A teams.
Tropeano was inconsistent last season in Double-A, but he said part of the issue was the Astros use eight-man rotations in the minors, which forced Tropeano to make eight relief appearances last season. This season, he’s back in his normal routine of pitching every five days.
“I take every year step by step,” Tropeano said. “You try to learn from previous years and get better the next year. I feel this year I’ve taken all the strides in the right direction. I’ve just got to keep working hard.”
Tropeano has pitched well enough that he could make his Major League debut soon after his 23rd birthday next month. He said he owes a lot to his parents, Paul and Debra.
“Growing up in New York, you play a lot of baseball in the cold,” Tropeano said. “They were always there to support me, drive from football practice to baseball. They’re big reasons why I’ve been able to do something like make a Triple-A All-Star team.”
Has he thought about possibly making his Major League debut later this season?
“That would be very emotional,” Tropeano said. “Obviously I haven’t got to experience that, yet. But I can tell you it’s going to be a little surreal; a dream come true.”