Cubs land lefty Alex Troop on minor league deal

Cubs land lefty Alex Troop on minor league deal

by - Senior Writer -

Although the Cubs' main focus when it comes to adding players has been the minor league season, the Independent Leagues are also going on and becoming more popular each season. Granted, these leagues are not technically run by Minor League Baseball, but four leagues that do follow the MLB and MILB guidelines, the Frontier League, Atlantic League, Pioneer League, and American Association of Baseball, fall into that category.

The Cubs' most recent acquisition is in the Frontier League, as they have signed Kane County Cougars left-hander Alex Troop to a Minor League deal. Oddly enough, Kane County was once the Cubs' single-A farmhand when they were part of the Midwest League prior to South Bend becoming that team.

When the MLB got rid of several minor league teams to condense the leagues, Kane County was one of those teams being left out. Instead of seeing their franchise completely go away for good, they elected to return as part of the Independent League and are still finding ways to churn out players on MILB deals. That is why these Independent Leagues were created in the first place. Their goal was to give players a second chance to make the show when no one else would give them that opportunity.

Cougars left-hander Alex Troop is the next in line to have that opportunity, as he has come to terms on a Minor League deal with the Cubs. The 27-year-old Troop is an Aurora, Illinois native who was initially drafted by the Washington Nationals in the ninth round of the 2017 MLB draft. He then went on to play seven seasons in the Nationals organization without getting the call to the majors, which is the main reason why he chose to go to the Independent Leagues.

Hoping for a second opportunity with a new organization, the former Michigan State pitcher is back in affiliated baseball, where he will now try his luck in the Cubs system. Before landing with Kane County, Troop was primarily a swingman in the Nationals organization, pitching in 115 games and 55 starts. During that time, he went 22-31 with a respectable 4.04 ERA. His 111 walks to 422 strikeouts stand out as he has always had excellent command, with his best season coming in 2021.

Troop went 8-5 that season with a 3.35 ERA, walking 15 and striking out 100. This season, Troop has yet to pitch a ton, but the numbers speak for themselves: He has zero walks and 16 punchouts across 10 innings in two starts. That alone got the attention of several teams, including the Cubs, so they made an offer to get him into their system.

Troop was always a big strikeout and low walk guy in the minors despite running into trouble in AA and AAA last season. You wouldn't guess that based on his overall repertoire, as he has an over-the-top delivery with a fastball that sits right around 90 MPH. With that fastball comes a few offspeed offerings that have shown flashes at times, but nothing worth getting excited about just yet.

Perhaps that is what the Cubs were looking at when they decided to add him. Clearly, they like something in him enough to bring him aboard, so expect him to land in their pitch lab to see what his true potential is on the field. Like most Independent ball signings, this is strictly a flyer type of deal that comes with no risk to the organization.

If it doesn't work out, you at least gave the player an opportunity. However, should it work out, you can look at this move as an under-the-radar steal. Troop is expected to report to Iowa, where he will be given an opportunity to make an immediate impression. However, don't be shocked to see him make a few appearances with AA Tennessee just to get reacclimated to affiliated baseball.

Troop isn't the first Independent League signing the Cubs have made this season; they have added two lefties in the past week. This could be a trend worth following as the season goes on, as some very good players in the Independent Leagues are starting to get some attention.

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