With the 12th pick of the draft the Diamondbacks drafted Tommy Troy. None of the mock drafts that I saw predicted that would happen. Although Keith Law mentioned the Diamondbacks had considered him, instead his mock draft had another team pick him as the 16th overall pick. Nevertheless, I was surprised.
Initial comments included two points: his strength was batting, and it was uncertain whether he would play shortstop or move to second base.
- One question in my mind was whether the Diamondbacks drafted a one-dimensional (bat only) player?
- Another question raised during a livestream discussion was whether his ceiling was a replacement level middle infielder.
Now that some time has passed, let’s look at why Tommy Troy was a promising and praiseworthy draft pick.
Tommy Troy has a winning mental mindset.
Mental makeup makes Tommy Troy better than other available players.
- He improved every year in all areas (makes me think of Geraldo Perdomo’s defense surprised last season and his batting improved this season).
- He relishes playing in high pressure (like Derek Jeter).
- He is a student of the game (like Paul Goldschmidt).
- Because of his high goals he is more likely a great player than a good player.
Supporting quotes follow:
“Finally, his year-over-year performances show a very positive trend, with Troy showing marked improvement across the board for each year, this includes his defense, speed on the bases, and the ability to hit for power in-game.” — James Attwood
“I’ve played at the biggest stage in college baseball and I’ve definitely performed. I love those playoff moments, I love playoff baseball. I feel like one of my strengths is that sort of pressure doesn’t get to me. I excel with the more pressure I have.” — Tommy Troy
“I studied the game a lot. I knew I needed to make some adjustments with my approach, and a couple mechanical things. It just boiled down to knowing where in the zone I do the most damage in. So being a little bit more selective going into the season allowed me to walk a little bit more and take advantage of pitches I know I can do damage on.” — Tommy Troy
After meeting with Troy, both scouting director Ian Rebhan and assistant general manager Amiel Sawdaye felt he was their guy. He has really high goals for himself, to have a long career and to be a Hall of Famer. That type of drive to be the best version of himself is what separates great players from good players. — Michael McDermott
Hitting fastballs is one of Tommy Troy’s amazing skills.
Hitting fastballs may be the biggest challenge for rookies. In theory, because Tommy Troy is spectacular at hitting fastballs, he will master hitting breaking and offspeed pitches.
“Elite [fastball] speed does not bother Troy, as he might be one of the best fastball hitters to come out of the draft in years.” — James Attwood
“Troy faced 48 fastballs that had a velocity of 95 MPH or greater and did not swing and miss at a single one of them.” — Michael McDermott
“Against high fastballs, something he’ll see more often in pro ball, he hit .508 with a 1.140 slugging percentage.” — Michael McDermott
The Dbacks had a preference for Tommy Troy.
The Diamondbacks have a pattern of drafting speedy, athletic, middle of the Diamond players, even if they are shorter than six feet tall.
“The D-backs like athletic, up-the-middle-of-the-diamond players. This is evident by the early selections of Carroll, Jordan Lawlar and Jones.” — Steve Gilbert
Despite playing third base in latest season in college, the Diamondbacks think he has the skills to play shortstop (a high value position).
“Notably, Arizona’s extensive scouting of Troy has the organization convinced that Troy has the defensive chops to stick at short, that there is no concern that he will need to move off to second or third down the road, short of being pushed there but an even higher ceiling future talent.” — James Attwood
His speed could allow him to be aggressive on the basepaths, which is a characteristic of many Diamondbacks’ players.
“He’s a 55 runner who’s played all over the field, mostly playing third this year for the Cardinal, but with some shortstop experience.” — Keith Law
Tommy Troy is a type of player D-backs have successfully developed as a batter (like Corbin Carroll).
He wants to play for the Diamondbacks (yes, that’s a Diamondbacks’ preference).
Who are Tommy Troy’s comps?
In comments to AZ Snake Pit articles, two comps were noteworthy:
- Pavin Smith by Xerostomia
- Chris Taylor by Oscar Goldman
Let’s consider those two comps for Tommy Troy.
First, a tip of the hat to Xerostomia for naming Pavin Smith as a comp in discussion at the AZ Snake Pit.
Both Tommy Troy and Pavin Smith were drafted in the first round. Tommy Troy was 12th overall in 2023 while Pavin Smith was 7th overall in 2017.
With Christian Walker playing first base, with the Diamondbacks talent in the outfield, and with the Diamondbacks needing a right-handed DH to balance their left-handed batters, Pavin Smith seems like a player without a position to play. If Tommy Troy falls short of the skills to play shortstop, and for unknown reasons fails to find a home at third base or second base, his comp falls to Pavin Smith as his floor.
However, when drafted Tommy Troy was better than Pavin Smith in two ways that follow. In addition, my view is that Troy has greater potential to be a power hitter, but at the time of being drafted they may have been equal.
- Speedier on the basepaths.
- Potentially plays a premium position.
Teams picking at the very top of the draft may want a player who has more speed or who plays a premium defensive position, but overall few players offer the combination of safety and upside possessed by Smith. John Sickels, SB Nation Minor League Ball, 2017.
For unknown reasons, Pavin Smith’s slugging got worse each season after his debut in the Majors, falling from .405 to .404 to .367 to .332. Clearly, Pavin Smith may not reach the potential seen when he was drafted, either batting or in the field.
Pavin Smith has a career bWAR of negative 0.3 WAR. Pavin Smith is the comp to represent the floor for Tommy Troy.
First, a tip of the hat to Oscar Goldman for naming Chris Taylor as a comp in discussion at the AZ Snake Pit.
Most noteworthy is that in 2017 Chris Taylor “overhauled his swing” with great results per Erik Stephen SB Nation. From 2017 to 2021 he earned 14.1 oWAR (an average of almost 3 oWAR per season).
One reason that this comp is excellent is because similar to Chris Taylor, Tommy Troy might benefit from a better swing. Reasons to think that are I read that he swings like he is going to come out of his shoes (there are advantages to a more compact swing), and the following quote:
“Teams that have been chasing contact should be all over Troy, as he doesn’t just make a lot of contact but solid quality contact, and if someone can get him to put the ball in the air more he might get to 55 power in time.” — Keith Law, The Athletic, 28 June
A second reason this comp is excellent is that both Tommy Troy and Chris Taylor (from 2017 to 2021, and with the exception of cutters) hit fastballs very well.
A third reason that this comp is excellent is because both Tommy Troy and Chris Taylor played shortstop, as well as other positions.
Chris Taylor has a career WAR of 16.4 bWAR (so far). Chris Taylor is a comp to represent the ceiling for Tommy Troy.
I was surprised when the Diamondbacks picked Tommy Troy as the 12th overall pick in the draft. Nevertheless, it’s likely he was the best player available to the Diamondbacks.
Tommy Troy has a winning mindset and an amazing skill hitting fastballs.
There were several reasons for him to be the Diamondbacks’ preference, such as an athletic middle of the diamond player, they think he has the skills to stick as shortstop, he is a fast baserunner, and he is the type of player they have successfully developed. And he wants to be a Diamondback.
Although he is speedier than Pavin Smith, Pavin Smith is a comp for his floor. Although I’d be thrilled if Tommy Troy becomes the next Derek Jeter, a realistic comp for his ceiling is Chris Taylor, with a career 16.4 bWAR.