Fort Plain graduate Butler ready to embark on pro career after being drafted by MLB’s Colorado Rockies

Fort Plain pitcher Troy Butler warms up during their Class C state playoff game against Ticonderoga at Plumeri Complex in Albany on Saturday, June 7, 2019.

Fort Plain pitcher Troy Butler warms up during their Class C state playoff game against Ticonderoga at Plumeri Complex in Albany on Saturday, June 7, 2019.

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As the third and final day of the 2023 MLB Draft ticked by on Tuesday, Troy Butler had — at least for a little way — put the potential implications for his future out of sight and out of mind.

Even though Butler, a 2021 Fort Plain High School graduate who played this past season at Herkimer Community College, knew there was a chance he’d be drafted, he’d instead opted for enjoying the day rather than tensely waiting around for a phone call.

“I wasn’t even home. I was in Canajoharie, at a local swimming spot by the creek,” Butler said in a phone interview Wednesday. “I was out getting some sun, it was me and my girlfriend, and we weren’t really watching the draft.”

That, of course, is when the phone rang.

“I got a FaceTime call from my advisor, and he says, ‘Congratulations, you’re a Rockie,’” Butler said. “I’m like, ‘Wow. That’s unbelievable.’ I was just shocked.”

As soon as that call ended, Butler got another one that cemented the news. It was a representative of the Colorado Rockies, who had selected the 6-foot-2, 195-pound righthanded pitcher in the 20th and last round with the 592nd overall selection.

Since then, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind. Butler — who had previously committed to transfer to UNC Charlotte for the upcoming school year — has agreed to terms with the Rockies and will head west this weekend to the team’s complex in Scottsdale, Arizona.

After that, the remainder of Butler’s season will likely consist of instructional work, then time with the Arizona Complex League Rockies, the team’s Rookie-level affiliate.

“We’re taking it one step at a time now,” Butler said.

It’s been a wild ride for the 20-year-old Butler. As a freshman and sophomore at Fort Plain in 2018 and 2019, he was a key part in back-to-back Section 2 championship teams for the Hilltoppers under legendary coach Craig Phillips, pitching in the Class D state final against Deposit/Hancock in 2018, and as a senior in 2021 he hit a home run in the game that gave Phillips his 800th win.

Butler said his time coming up in the storied Fort Plain baseball program under Phillips played a major part in molding him.

“I couldn’t have done it without my Fort Plain coaches,” he said. “Craig Phillips, John Fureno, all of them helped me out tremendously throughout the years. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to them, because without them I don’t think I’d be where I am today.”

Butler started his collegiate career at Binghamton, and as a college freshman in 2022 he pitched 8 2-3 innings over 11 appearances for the Bearcats.

He transferred to Herkimer for the 2022-23 school year and, featuring a fastball that clocked in as fast as 95 mph, Butler made 11 appearances for the Generals, going 6-2 with one save and a 4.84 earned run average.

Butler’s velocity also allowed him to rack up a staggering 81 strikeouts while allowing just 27 hits in 44 2-3 innings at Herkimer, putting him solidly on the draft radar.

Now, as he gets set to step into the professional ranks, Butler is keeping things in perspective.

“It’s crazy, but it’s a relief after all the hard work I’ve done over theyear,” Butler said. “Being a small-town baseball player, being able to get this opportunity is something that not many people in my shoes is something they can say they got the opportunity to do.

“I’m just excited to start this next chapter in my baseball career.”

Reach Adam Shinder at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Shinder. 

By Adam Shinder

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