Cheryl Pursell, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, and MiLB

Jake Thompson of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs was named the International League Pitcher of the Year for 2016

Jake Thompson put together some rather impressive numbers in his first Triple-A season. After a slow start, Thompson became dominating and went on to have a season worthy of making him the International League Pitcher of the Year.

Unfortunately for Jake Thompson, the International League won't be able to give him his Pitcher of the Year trophy at Coca-Cola Park, the home of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Thompson has moved on from the Lehigh Valley to pitch in Philadelphia, but he helped the IronPigs to a season in which they will finish with a better winning percentage than any season in the franchise's history.

After posting a 6.16 ERA in April, Thompson figured out how to get hitters out at Triple-A and went on to post a 3.22 ERA in May, lowered that to 0.75 in June and then finished up his minor league season with a 1.62 ERA in July. The end result was an 11-5 record and a 2.50 ERA with Lehigh Valley. His ERA still leads all IL pitchers, with former teammate Ben Lively in second with a 3.22 ERA, and Thompson's 129 2/3 innings are enough to keep him among the league leaders at the end of the season, making it likely that he'll finish with the top ERA in the league. He is also still tied for first in wins (11), and has the third lowest opponent's average against in the league at .225, with Lively (.205) and Pawtucket's Henry Owens (.220) ahead of him. His .688 winning percentage still remains tied for the best in the league, with Rochester's Jason Wheeler.

The only other IronPigs pitcher to win Pitcher of the Year honors from the International League was Tyler Cloyd (12-1, 2.35) in 2012.

Thompson was the IL Pitcher of the Month in June, when he went 3-0 with a 0.76 ERA in five starts for Lehigh Valley. Thompson had his contract purchased by the Phillies on August 6th and has gone 1-4 with a 7.86 ERA in five starts. While his first four starts resulted in a 9.78 ERA, he was much better in his most recent start on Monday, pitching seven innings against the Washington Nationals and allowing just two earned runs on seven hits and one walk.


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