Thursday, May 24, the Blue Jays complete a three-game series against the LA Angels with an early 12:37 start (Facebook broadcast). Marco Estrada and Nick Tropeano will face off in the final game of the short three game series.
Nick Tropeano was acquired by the Angels in a 2014 trade with the Houston Astros. The Astros received Hank Conger in return for both Tropeano and Carlos Perez. After being traded, Tropeano was excellent in 2015 for the Angels.
Tropeano shares a similar story to Wednesday’s starter, Tyler Skaggs. Mid-way through last season, Tropeano tore his ulnar collateral ligament—more commonly known as the Tommy John injury among baseball fans. The lefty was the third Angels pitcher to undergo the season ending surgery last year. Ominously, Angels’ pitcher Kenyan Middleton, and possibly Blake Wood, will also have to undergo Tommy John surgery this season.
Tropeano has not returned to his former self after coming back from Tommy John surgery. Through six starts, the young right-hander has struggled to a 4.45 ERA, 1-3 record, 1.361 WHIP, 93 ERA+, and has been worth 0.1 fWAR.
The righty offers a mix of pitches, including a fastball, slider, sinker, splitter, and change-up. Despite a wide array of offerings, Tropeano is primarily a fastball-slider pitcher, mixing in the other pitches as accessory offerings.
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The right-handed hurler uses his four-seam fastball 34.4% of the time, while averaging a velocity of 91.56 mph. The heater has produced two more walks (six) than strikeouts (four). As well, it has accounted for four doubles, a home run, and a mediocre .419 SLGA.
Tropeano uses his 80 mph slider 25.6% of the time. Despite the slow velocity, the slider has produced whiffs on 39.66% of swings, leading to nine strikeouts. The slider is currently tied with the splitter for producing the most strikeouts for the righty.
The right-hander uses his sinker 15.53% of the time, just slightly more than his splitter. The sinker averages a slow velocity of 89.73 mph and does not produce a good amount of groundballs compared to other sinkers. However, it has accounted for a good .211 BAA and .368 SLGA. These numbers are misleading, though, as the sinker’s BABIP is incredibly low, currently sitting at .177.
One of the few pitchers to offer a splitter, Tropeano uses his variation 15.3% of the time. The splitter produces whiffs on 40% of swings, but it has also allowed a poor rate of line drives to the tune of 36.36% of balls in play.
Tropeano throws his change-up just 9.1% of the time. The change-up is slightly faster than the splitter, holding an average velocity of 82.38 mph, and creates more movement. As a result of this movement, the change has accounted for whiffs on 56.25% of swings. Interestingly, the change holds a terrible 1.000 BABIP this season—each hit is a single, though.
Tropeano is far from a flame-thrower; as a result of this lacking velocity, batters have pulled the ball at a high rate of 46.7%. Even worse, balls put in play have resulted in hard contact at a terrible rate of 45.7%. Coupled with a high fly ball percent, currently at 42.4%, it is not hard to see why he has allowed five home runs in six starts.
The right-hander has struggled with base on balls this year, as well. Through six starts, Tropeano has produced walks at a poor rate of 11.2%, leading to a poor 4.18 BB/9. In fact, in every start this season, the left-hander has allowed at least two walks to the opposing team. With a weak ground ball rate (35.9%) Tropeano makes it difficult for himself to work around these walks.
Nobody on the Blue Jays has ever earned a hit against Tropeano. To be fair, the New York native has only ever pitched against Curtis Granderson and Kendrys Morales. Granderson has no hits in three at-bats while Morales has taken the collar with two strikeouts in five at-bats.
Following a tough loss, the Blue Jays have a chance to win the series against the wildcard rival, LA Angels Thursday afternoon. Slated to leave for Philadelphia after the game, the Blue Jays could start some good momentum before they encounter on a young powerful team in the Phillies.