Two Lander players were selected Wednesday on the final day of the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft.
Senior right-handed pitcher Alex Moore was the first Bearcat selected, taken in the 18th round (552nd overall) by the Chicago Cubs, while senior right-hander Ryan Troutman followed as the Pittsburgh Pirates made him their 26th round pick (784th overall).
The two selections give the Bearcats 10 draft picks in program history. Lander’s nine picks since 2014 are the second-most in the Peach Belt Conference during that span.
Moore made 20 starts and 27 appearances on the mound in his two full seasons with the Bearcats.
Lander coach Jason Burke said the Cubs told him they like Moore as a starting pitcher while he works his way through the organization.
Burke brought Moore to Lander after Moore transferred from Eckerd College. Moore had to try out to get an offer from Burke.
“For me, this is a kid that worked his tail off to be this,” Burke said. “This is a kid that wasn’t drafted out of high school, wasn’t highly recruited. A kid that came here to a tryout and didn’t even know if he was going to be offered here. He was a kid that was self-made, I guess is a good way to say it.”
Moore led the Bearcats’ staff with 84 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings pitched in 2019. Moore began the season ranked as the No. 31-ranked prospect on Perfect Game’s Division II list.
Troutman played catcher his freshman and sophomore years at Lander. Burke saw some potential to turn Troutman into a pitcher, and started training him on the mound after recruiting a couple of other talented catchers.
“He had every reason in the world to quit, every reason in the world to want to transfer and not stay here,” Burke said. “He responded back to me as, ‘Yeah, I’m in. Let’s do it.’”
Troutman blossomed into the Bearcats’ closer in his senior year, leading the pitching staff with seven saves. In 2019, he limited opponents to nine earned runs in 27 1/3 innings, good for a 2.96 ERA.
Troutman made 43 appearances on the mound for Lander in his career, notching 41 strikeouts in 43.1 innings of work.
“You’re talking about one of the coolest draft picks of my career,” Burke said. “I think I’ve had 20-something kids get their name called in the draft and Ryan Troutman might be the coolest story out of all of them.”