Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 1/31/1994 (2014 Opening Day Age: 20)
Acquired: 2012 MLB Draft, 2nd Round
Ranking History: #7 (2013), #6 (2014)
Background: The Tigers highest pick in the 2012 draft, Thompson had unusual polish for a high school arm, and it showed with a dominating performance in the GCL that summer. He finished with a 1.91 ERA across seven starts with more than a strikeout per inning. At just 19-years old the Tigers pushed him to Low-A in 2013 and he performed well with a 3.13 ERA and nearly ten strikeouts per nine innings in 17 games (16 starts). He has started off in hot fashion this year in High-A, posting a 1.20 ERA through his first five starts.
|2013 Stats - Pitching|
Body: Physical, strong frame; cuts imposing figure; body is maxed out and doesn't project physically; won't hang more weight/mass in a good way; should be able to maintain body long term but have to watch it as he enters mid- to late-20s.
Delivery/Mechanics: Amazingly consistent for player his age/experience; works quickly; gets from balance to release with speed but remains in control; above-average arm speed; consistent arm slot on all pitches; typically finishes well but will fall off at times and leave pitches high to arm side as arm drags through; should be consistent with clean delivery long term.
Fastball: Easy 90-92 with two-seamer; heavy pitch with plenty of sink; difficult to lift; works down in the zone; will subtract at times and dip to 88-89 with sinker; can reach as high as 93 without losing movement; four-seam can sit 91-93 and will reach 95 when he reaches back for extra; has to work down as consistently with four-seam; tends to elevate; both pitches play well; appears to have some deception that isn't visible to naked eye; hitters don't square FB (even four-seam version); quality offering; won't add much velo overall but should become more consistent with maintaining velo deeper and deeper into starts. Grade – Present 5+/Future 6
Slider: Money pitch; hard, tight rotation; low- to mid-80s; really trusts pitch; can stay horizontal but will have frequent vertical element to pitch; swing-and-miss pitch right now; borderline plus offering; too much for A-ball hitters to handle; will pitch off SL at times because it is so effective; true plus pitch at peak; could reach higher but doesn't need to. Grade – 5+/6
Curveball: Relatively new; added in 2013; slower pitch than SL; sits upper-70s; not reliable; break can get slurvy at times; sharper when shape is more 11-5 than when 10-4; needs to stay on top of pitch more consistently; will cast on occasion; pitch has made quick progress since adding to arsenal last year; below-average with fringe to solid potential. Grade – 4/5
Changeup: Ahead of CB; behind SL; low-80s velo; good arm speed and same arm slot as FB; will show occasional fade to go along with consistent sink; won't miss advanced bats but off-sets FB well and keeps hitters guessing; good velo separation; fringe pitch at present; still developing and can reach average. Grade – 4+/5
Control/Command: Consistently works in the zone with both FB; SL can move around zone at will; command of CH and CB lag behind; CH command is improving quickly; has consistent and clean delivery; projects for above-average command profile; needs to learn to move FB out of zone to change hitter looks; elevates FB well to change sight line.
Other: Excellent presence; pitches with attitude; comes right at hitters; won't back down regardless of situation; trusts his stuff; has a little *uck you in him; intelligent kid; plus-plus makeup.
Summary: Quality profile; advanced for his age; FB and SL can dominate hitters for long stretches; SL is way too much for low level bats to handle; CH will be average to match above-average FB and plus SL; CB will be fringe but good change-of-pace look; intense competitor; pitches with anger/aggression but controls emotion well; strong profile overall.
Risk: High risk; No upper level resume; must demonstrate that rest of arsenal outside of SL will play against advanced hitters; third and fourth pitches still require development.
Projection: Limited growth potential across arsenal; lower ceiling; relatively high floor for pitcher his age; 2016 MLB ETA; #3 ceiling if CH and CB progress to fringe/average levels; back-end starter floor with FB-SL combo and two show-me pitches.
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