Long Island is known for producing quality baseball players, and Nick Tropeano’s name can officially be added to the list.
The Houston Astros selected Tropeano, a right handed starting pitcher from Stony Brook University, with the 160th overall pick in the fifth round of this year’s MLB First Year Player Draft.
Tropeano, 20, was ecstatic when his name was called.
“Words can’t explain how excited I am,” said Tropeano. “It’s been my dream ever since I grabbed a baseball. I’ve been working my whole life for this moment, and it’s just one step closer to getting to my ultimate dream.”
While Tropeano sports a four-pitch arsenal, it was his competiveness that opened the scouts’ eyes. Though his fastball does not light up the radar gun (he sits in the high-80s), his above-average change-up has been his primary strikeout weapon. In addition to his 12-1 record and 1.84 ERA in his junior season, he struck out 119 batters in just 93.0 innings.
The West Islip native also made a name for himself pitching in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League during summer 2010. While there, Tropeano honed his craft of attacking opposing hitters and keeping them off-balance.
In getting where he is today, Tropeano credits Stony Brook’s head baseball coach Matt Senk. Senk, the Seawolves coach for 21 years, believes Tropeano’s 6-foot, 4-inch frame and confidence on the mound project him as a top prospect.
“To see Nick get to this point and get drafted in the fifth round is a very proud moment and well deserved for him,” Senk tells the Press.
Additionally, Senk claims that Tropeano is ahead of other minor league prospects in terms of development. Though reaching the Major Leagues is a difficult task, Senk thinks continued perseverance on Tropeano’s part will allow him to achieve his ultimate goal.
“He’s just a ferocious competitor,” said Senk. “I think the Astros made a very smart selection with Nick.”
Tropeano hopes to develop a sound workout regimen as he embarks on a journey toward a successful professional career. While he’s excited to take the next step, he realizes that he must start from the bottom up in advancing through Houston’s system.
“You have to continue working hard and see where it takes you,” said Tropeano. “I’m honored, privileged and thankful that the Houston Astros gave me this opportunity and saw the ability that I have.”
According to Senk, Tropeano’s selection is not only a tremendous personal achievement but also a rewarding moment for the coaching staff, baseball program and entire athletic department. The Seawolves have now had a player selected in the draft in back-to-back years for the first time in the school’s history. The San Diego Padres selected catcher Justin Echevarria in the 40th round of the 2010 draft.
The draft has opened a new door in Tropeano’s life, and he will look to make the most of his opportunity.