Scouting Yankee Prospect #42: Kevin Thompson

The New York Yankees selected CF Kevin Thompson in the 31st round of the 1999 draft out of Grayson County (Texas)CC where he played on two national champions there and was a teammate of Anaheim's John Lackey. He's our #42 Yankee's prospect.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Kevin Thompson
Position: Left Field
DOB: September 18, 1979
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
How Acquired: Selected in the 31st round of the 1999 draft, Thompson signed as a draft-and-follow.

Originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins out of high school in the 18th round of the 1998 draft, Thompson was a draft-and-follow as he signed in 2000 with the Yankees. At Grayson, Thompson won back-to-back Junior College Championships as a shortstop/second baseman. After spending only seven games in the infield to begin his career in the Yankees organization, he was transferred to centerfield to take advantage of his natural abilities.

The name of Thompson's game is speed. In 2002, Thompson led the organization in steals with 31 SBs. He led the Yankees farm system in stolen bases again in 2003, swiping a combined 63 between Tampa and Trenton. On August 21, 2003, Thompson broke the record of 40 steals in a year set in 1997 by outfielder Aaron Fuller (he wound up stealing 47 for Trenton last season). He also set the Trenton franchise record for steals in a game on July 29 against Portland when he stole four bases. The previous mark was three steals and was held by five players. Thompson also set the Trenton record for steals in a month when he swiped 17 bases in July to top Nomar Garciaparra's mark of 12 set in May 1995.

Thompson has had some varying success in his Yankees' career thus far. He's shown good patience at the plate, a good batting eye, tons of speed, and lots of defense. The key to Thompson's future is his power. While most scouts say he does not have enough power, Thompson has shown he has some pop in his bat. His 2003 stint at Tampa in particular was phenomenal, clubbing 13 doubles and 5 home runs in just 44 games and then hit 11 home runs in a shade over 300 at-bats between two stops in Tampa and Trenton in 2004.

Thompson was selected as one of the Yankees' positional prospects for the Arizona Fall League this year and has showed some of that power we knew he had, co-leading the Grand Canyon Rafters in home runs through the first 19 games of the AFL season. The ulimate student of the game, Thompson's thirst for getting better in all facets of the game is never quenched.

Year

Team

AVG

AB

2B

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

SO

OBP

SLG

2004

Trenton

.281

270

17

9

17

43

29

30

40

.362

.444

2004

Tampa

.356

45

4

2

6

12

9

4

7

.420

.578

2003

Trenton

.226

328

16

5

20

48

47

37

57

.310

.332

2003

Tampa

.331

163

13

5

25

42

16

32

27

.433

.552

2002

Staten Island

.302

139

5

4

14

25

6

17

24

.376

.453

2002

Tampa

.184

87

5

0

7

10

11

13

15

.298

.241

2002

Greensboro

.283

226

24

3

31

44

14

37

42

.396

.456

2001

Staten Island

.262

260

11

6

33

46

11

36

48

-

.404

2001

GCL Yankees

.267

75

7

2

9

13

2

10

14

-

.467


* Stats as of 10/1/04

Batting and Power. Some scouts say he does not have enough power to be a regular Major League outfielder. Thompson's slugging percentages suggest that the jury is still out on that assessment. His recent success in the Arizona Fall League is also a testament to his power. He has decent gap power and with his speed and batting eye, Thompson could develop into a dangerous hitter. Thompson makes consistent contact and he is a great judge of the strike zone. In his career, Thompson has struck out just 55 more times that he's drawn walks.

Base Running and Speed. As pointed out earlier, Thompson is all about the speed. In his short minor league career, Thompson has stolen 145 bases with an 81.9% success rate. He can flat out fly on the base paths.

Defense. Blessed with so much speed, Thompson is an excellent defensive outfielder. In 2002, Baseball America even rated him as the Top Defensive Outfielder in the organization. He can play all three outfield positions if called upon.

Projection. Right now, Thompson appears to be a reserve outfielder. Should his power develop a little more, he could become a good starting outfielder and a threat at the top of the lineup but does have age going against him. Thompson is good enough to make a Major League roster as a pinch-hitter, pinch-runner, defensive specialist, and possible reserve outfielder.

ETA. 2006. Thompson's speed and defense suggests he'll break in as a valuable bench player. Beyond that is up to Thompson and the Yankees. At minimum, Thompson should be among the September call-ups in the 2005 season.


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