The turnaround for the Stanford baseball program was both impressive and sudden, with several Future Stars Series alums helping to lead the way.
Sure, 2018 International Week standout Brock Jones’ sensational sophomore season played a significant role in that without question, but don’t overlook Tommy Troy, who memorably played in the event a year later, and proved to be an extremely valuable asset for a Cardinal team that’s now ranked as the best in the Pac-12 heading into their season opener on Friday night.
That wasn’t the only thing on his mind, however.
An excellent student who was named to the conference’s Academic Honor Roll in the spring, Troy was studying for an upcoming midterm before taking a break to speak with FutureStarsSeries.com, a reminder that the “athlete” part of student-athlete is very real.
“We’re just like everyone else, we’ve just got a little bit more of a workload,” Troy said. “But, all the guys on our team are really good managing their team. A lot of guys are doing different degrees, so the workload has been different for everyone, but I still feel like we’ve found like a way to get all of our work in, and we’re all really prepared for this season.”
Troy’s first season with Stanford went well; he hit .247 with ten homers and 28 RBI in a true freshman year on the field, and it was a year he enjoyed off of it as well, enjoying the unique atmosphere and feeling of camaraderie that college baseball provides.
“It’s been amazing,” he said. “I absolutely love our coaching staff and the players on the team, they make everything so much better. I’ve been on many different teams, and our team’s chemistry is just so much different. If you’re able to even watch a single practice, just the way we practice and the way everyone works with each other, it’s a lot different, and that’s what separates us from a lot of other teams.”
Troy, like Jones, is well aware that Stanford will collectively have a target on their backs this season after a year in which they seemingly came out of nowhere to advance to the College World Series before a second-round elimination at the hands of Vanderbilt.
“I feel like it’s pumped the team up, and it makes us super excited to just to show everyone what we’ve got and build off of last year,” he said. “I just feel like we have a better team than last year, and I’m excited to see what we can do.”
Likewise, everyone’s excited to see what Troy can do.
He’s now looking to separate himself from the rest of the pack after a freshman year that showed significant promise, one in which he was used primarily as a second baseman, but also saw time at shortstop, third base and even in left field, providing significant value with his defensive versatility.
“It was definitely a learning experience for sure,” Troy said. “It was definitely a lot different, I would say the game speeds up for sure from high school to college, whether it’s just on defense or the way situations are on the field. But, with experience and time, everything slows down and it gets a lot easier. I had a lot of ups and downs, but I was able to work on a ton of stuff over the summer, and I’m feeling confident this season that I can make a much bigger impact…the more versatile you are, the better chance you have at staying in the lineup. I just tried to do everything I can to help the team win; if I couldn’t play in the infield because we had a senior they wanted over there for stability, I could play in left field, I could DH if we really needed me to. I was willing to do whatever the team needed from me.”
The Los Gatos native says he feels a lot more relaxed coming into his sophomore season and has an increased sense of confidence after the growth he experienced during that freshman year.
Troy has added some muscle since that 2021 campaign — he’s now listed at 195 pounds, up from 185 one year ago — which he knows can only help his game moving forward.
“I definitely put in some work this summer, and I feel like that’s going to play into my success this year for sure,” he said. “The coaching staff and my trainer really didn’t talk much about me gaining weight; they want me to be fast, they want me to play fast, so it was really kind of on my own. I naturally gained some weight from working out and eating well this summer. There’s definitely a slight difference (in my power)…I didn’t plan well last year with regards to my eating habits, but this year I have a much better meal plan with eating during the game and finding ways to get extra calories in so I don’t lose that weight.”
While the skillset certainly remains, Troy now looks like a different, better version of the player that Future Stars Series president and CEO Jeremy Booth first saw at the NorCal World Series as a freshman, and then broke onto the big stage at International Week in 2019, an event in which he earned significant attention after an impressive two-run double off of the Green Monster at Fenway Park after getting an invite following attending an FSS Scout Day.
“That was an amazing experience for me,” he said. “Especially just being able to see the best players in the country and some other players from around the world. I feel like that was just a good way to gauge where I was at with regards to the top players in the country. But, it was an amazing experience. It was surreal stepping foot into Fenway and being able to play. I remember I hit one off the Green Monster, too. It just motivated me and gave me a little extra spark that if I want to play on fields like that on a daily basis, I’ve got to put in the work.”
Participating in bigger events like that, where he was among the best of the best, helped prepare him for that next step of playing college baseball in one of the best conferences in the country.
“It shows you where you’re at, what you need to work on to be able to prepare to see guys like that all the time depending on which college you go to,” Troy said. “If you’re going to the SEC, you better be prepared to see some velo, so those showcases really gauge where you’re at and what you need to work on.”
So far, so good for Troy, who will have plenty of time to work on and refine his game during this sophomore season as he gets closer and closer to a junior year that will help play a large role in where the already highly-touted prospect for the 2023 MLB Draft might hear his name called.
That, of course, is a long way away.
“I’m not too worried about any of it,” he said. “Right now, my focus is just game-to-game and just trying to help the team win every single time. For the future, I want to have a great summer and use that to bounce into the next season. Whatever happens, happens.”
Whatever happens, for those of us who got to know him at our events, there’s no doubt that it’ll likely be big.
“The swing, raw power and power potential, run tool, and the athleticism was obvious,” Booth said. “His baseball IQ is so advanced, and the internal clock was set to a speed that was hard to keep up with. Reminded me of Bret Boone. He’s an 80 makeup player who makes everyone better. The energy is infectious and the family is outstanding. Focused and driven to improve while never being satisfied is the separator. He’s a personal favorite.”
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