Q&A with Rangers 7th Round Pick Matt Thompson

The Texas Rangers recently selected Burleson native and Arlington Grace Prep standout Matt Thompson in the 7th round of the 2008 MLB Draft. Lone Star Dugout was able to catch up with the right-hander for a Q&A session.

The Texas Rangers selected right-handed pitcher Matt Thompson in the seventh round of the 2008 MLB Draft.

A native of Burleson and a product of Arlington's Grace Prep Academy, Thompson has been one of the top high school pitchers in the state of Texas over the last two years.

The 6-foot-3 hurler has signed a letter of intent with TCU, but he is looking to strike a deal with the Rangers before the August 15 signing deadline.

Lone Star Dugout recently caught up with Thompson for a Q&A session.

Jason Cole: Tell me what it felt like to be drafted by the Rangers in the seventh round. Can you describe that feeling?

Matt Thompson: It was a great feeling. It was going to be special no matter who I went to, but it is even more special to be picked by the hometown team. I've always been a fan. It was great.

Cole: Were you picked about where you were expecting to go?

Thompson: Yes, sir. Right around there.

Cole: How much had you talked with the Rangers in the time leading up to the draft?

Thompson: Early on in the season, it wasn't a lot. But a couple of weeks before the draft, they really started talking to me. They came out and watched me throw a little bit.

Cole: How much have you talked with the Rangers since you were drafted?

Thompson: About once a day.

Cole: Do you know when you are expecting to start the negotiation process?

Thompson: Hopefully sometime this week.

Cole: Give me a scouting report of you on the mound. What kind of pitches do you throw and what speeds are you working at generally?

Thompson: I have a fastball – it is anywhere from 90 to 91 and 94 on occasion. I have a pretty good curveball and a decent changeup. I like to go after hitters – challenge them. I think I'm pretty competitive.

Cole: What pitch would you say is your best?

Thompson: Right now, I think it's my curveball.

Cole: That fastball you throw – do you throw a four-seamer and a two-seam or is it all of one kind?

Thompson: I throw a four-seam and a two-seam.

Cole: Are they about the same velocity?

Thompson: My two-seam is a little bit slower and it moves a little bit more.

Cole: Which of your pitches would you say has the most room for improvement right now?

Thompson: My changeup.

Cole: Have you been throwing that for very long? Did you even throw it much during your high school season?

Thompson: The first couple years of high school, I threw it a little bit. The past couple of years, I kind of got away from it. I'm starting to throw it more and I'm trying to find it again.

Cole: To give fans an idea of what you're like on the mound, is there a big league pitcher that you would compare your game to or that you try and model yourself after?

Thompson: I would say probably Josh Beckett. I think we have the same mindset. We're both pretty competitive and we like to go after people and challenge them.

Cole: What would you say has been the best moment of you baseball career so far?

Thompson: I pitched a game against Chris Withrow my junior year. He got drafted 20th overall last year. That was really the first time that scouts had seen me pitch or seen me play. That was a big game for me.

Cole: You've signed with TCU. What led you to pick coach Schlossnagle and the Horned Frogs?

Thompson: I went on a visit and I met the coaches and the coaches were great. The program is going to be very good the next couple of years and I just like the school and I got a good feeling about it.

Cole: Even though you haven't really started the negotiation process, can you talk a little bit about the chances of you signing with the Rangers versus going to TCU?

Thompson: There's not really much to say. I'd love to sign – I'm ready to sign. But if it doesn't work out, I picked TCU for a reason.

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