Photo by Brian Solack
Troy Taylor is a right-handed pitcher for the Everett AquaSox. He was drafted in the 12th round of the MLB 2022 draft out of UC Irvine. Troy was recently promoted to the Everett AquaSox back in August of 2023 after pitching most of the year at of the Modesto Nuts bullpen, a minor league affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. We at the Seattle Sports Union were recently blessed to sit down with the young man and hear his amazing story, the story about a young man who didn’t pitch until 2020, his first year in college.
SSU: Thank you for joining us tonight. Heck of a baseball game, and heck of a win tonight. Congratulations. I am going to get the tough question out of the way. Troy, who is going to win the football game this Sunday between the LA Rams and the Seattle Seahawks? We know that you grew up a Rams fan.
TT: Haha. First, thanks for the nice words about tonight’s game. Yes, I did grow up a Ram’s fan but since I am a part of the Seattle Mariners organization and I plan on being here a long time, I better vote for the Seahawks to win. That is a tough question, ha-ha, to start out for sure. So yes, let’s go with the Seahawks. Plus, I heard that WR Cooper Kupp is out for the Rams, so that helps the Seahawks chances.
SSU: Thank you for letting me get that question out of the way. Now we can move on to the easier questions. You grew up in California, I was told. Where were you born?
TT: I was born in Rancho Cucamonga, California. It is a part of the Inland Empire (a metropolitan area adjacent to coastal Southern California, centering around the cities of San Bernardino and Riverside and bordering LA County to the west).
SSU: How old were you when you started playing baseball? Did you play baseball all the way through high school too? Please share a favorite memory of when you played baseball growing up.
TT: I started playing when I was like four or five years old. I played through high school and my position of choice growing up was shortstop. Baseball was my first choice and I loved playing that position. Having the ability to make strong throws is a big part of why I lasted at that position for so long.
I had many wonderful memories. One memory was when I was playing in my senior year in high school. We were down like nine or 10 to nothing to our arch-rivals. We came back to win the baseball game and I hit a walk-off homer to clinch the victory. That was awesome!!!
SSU: So, when did you start pitching then? How did it happen?
TT: I started pitching my freshman year in college at Long Beach State. As for how it happened, well I was not hitting very well in the Fall, my one and only year at Long Beach State. I was mainly a position player with a strong arm. They needed pitching and even agreed that it would be best for my career to make the change. So it happened, and it was probably the best decision I could have made for my career in this sport.
SSU: You had a very strong outing tonight on the mound, striking out two batters and making an ESPN moment, throwing the Eugene baseball player out at first after their little chip shot down the 3rd base line. The last out of the inning, you struck the batter out on a 97-mph fastball. Incredible stuff Troy. I knew from the first time I saw you pitch on the mound; I wanted to meet you and get your story. You were promoted last month to Everett. One of your first games here in Everett (perhaps your first one) I was in attendance. Looking at your stats, I saw that you had like 51 strikeouts in 35 innings at Modesto stating to myself “this kid can pitch”.
TT: Thanks for all the nice words. That means a lot. Each game I just go out and do the best that I can. I am still learning the game too which is exciting for me. It’s been so fun coming up here to Everett. We have a great group of guys here; the coaches are amazing to work with. I really love my job and want to continue to get better at it.
SSU: We noticed that you guys in the bullpen all seem to get along well. We have seen so much love this season, especially amongst the bullpen crew. Even on days where things aren’t working, they are all down there supporting one another, giving high fives, hugs, constant words of encouragement. Is this common in baseball?
TT: I have only been here for a few weeks but yes, this group of guys gets along very well. It has been super fun hanging out with them and getting to know each other. As for it being common, I would say yes. The bullpens I have been around in are tight. I would say this one (2023 Everett AquaSox bullpen) is a little tighter than others. That is certainly a great thing to be a part of for sure.
SSU: You got drafted by the Seattle Mariners, not once but twice. Tell us about that situation.
TT: I did get drafted twice by the organization. After my 2021 season at Cypress college, a Juco, they drafted me in the 20th round. I knew I wasn’t ready to leave college and pursue an MLB career just yet. So, in 2022 I attended UC Irvine. I did stay in touch with the area scout of the Seattle Mariners, and I knew there were still other teams interested in me. After the college season wrapped up, the Mariners drafted me in the 12th round and the rest is history.
SSU: How many pitches do you throw Troy and do the Seattle Mariners plan on keeping you in the bullpen.
TT: I throw 3 pitches. I throw a slider, a fastball and I am working on a change-up. As far as I know, they plan on keeping me in bullpen. It makes sense to me and I’m totally fine with that.
SSU: What was it like playing in Modesto on a winning team to coincide with coming to Everett and playing on a winning team?
TT: So far, so good. Playing in Modesto with a great group of guys was amazing. We had so much fun this summer. It has been a smooth transition coming to Everett and that is all one can ask for. We are a part of the entire Seattle Mariners organization and to jump from one successful team to the next is all we can really ask for. Everyone has been great to be around and has welcomed me with open arms.
SSU: What was it like coming to the city of Everett?
TT: This area is great. I have not been around this area of the country too much before. The weather has been great and so has the atmosphere. It was cool driving up here from California, seeing a bunch of trees and stuff. We don’t have much of that coming from where I grew up (laughs).
SSU: What was your major in college?
TT: I am currently working on getting my degree in Criminology. I want to be a police officer just like my father. My Father was in law enforcement and is now retired. He worked for the U.S. Marshall for several years. Law enforcement has always been big in our family, and I want to continue that when baseball is over.
SSU: Who was your favorite athlete(s) growing up?
TT: I was a huge fan of Jered Weaver, pitcher of the Los Angeles Angels. He also pitched at Long Beach State where I started out. Chone Figgins of the Angels was another favorite player growing up. There was other Angels I followed, but these were the two that stood out. My house was divided between the Angels and the Dodgers growing up. My Dad and I were Angel fans. It meant a lot to me being able to root them on with my father.
SSU: It’s the 2027 World Series and you are the Seattle Mariners closer. What is your walk-up song?
TT: My song would be “No Tricks in the Wild” by Jay Z. I really love the song; the beat and it really pumps me up. When I am out there, I don’t hear it playing though so it really doesn’t matter what song it is.
SSU: What is your favorite sports movie of all time? Who plays you in your Hollywood movie after you retire?
TT: Sandlot is my favorite sports movie. I was such a fan of the movie growing up, watching it over 50 times. It is such a great film. As for who plays me in my film, I’d say the actor who plays John B in the Netflix show “The Outer Banks: He has great hair with great flow like my hair. Chase Stokes is the actor’s name.
SSU: Awesome choices. What’s next? Where will you go once the season ends? What is your prediction against Vancouver in next week’s championship best of five?
TT: After the season I will be headed to the Arizona Fall League to work on my game. As for bringing home the NWL championship to Everett, Frogs win 3 games to 0.
SSU: Yes, we like that response. Thank you for joining us. What a pleasure it was getting to know you. Keep up the great work and Happy Birthday Troy (his birthday was in three days).
TT: Thank you guys, it was nice meeting you. Thank you for the birthday wishes as well.
Troy Taylor, all the best to you in your MLB career, especially with the Seattle Mariners. The future is bright for this young man perhaps as the future closer as the Seattle Mariners.