Kevin Thompson: Making Defensive Strides

Kevin Thompson is starting his third year in Trenton and hopes this will be the year when he finally breaks the barrier that has kept him from moving up to Columbus. Thompson believes it is his defense that has kept him mired in Trenton, but he's having a great time, wherever he plays.

Thompson is a 5-10 speedster who gives Trenton a potent running threat at the top of their lineup. Over the last two seasons, Thompson has been an anchor in the lead-up spot. He has produced in that role, although he claims he doesn't care where in the lineup he hits.

Thompson said, "It doesn't matter where I hit."

Although Thompson has split time between Tampa and Trenton each of the last two seasons, Thompson put up a .281 batting average through 69 games last year and is hitting .306 (19-for-62) through the first part of the 2005 campaign.

Unlike last season when Thompson started the year on the Disabled List after having bone chips removed from his elbow, he is fully healthy and ready to produce this time around. Says Thompson, "I'm a proven lead-off guy." As such, Thompson sees the key to this year as lying in his defense. "I have to work on my defense. I have to work on taking better routes to balls and getting better jumps as well as going the other way more at the plate." says the twenty-five year old. When told that he has committed only one error in the early season, Thompson was less than pleased. "Yeah, but I've taken a lot of bad routes to balls and haven't gotten the best jumps on balls. Things that you don't see in box scores." says Thompson.

Thompson has been one of the few Thunder bats that has been hot early in the season. While the team has struggled at the plate, Thompson has gotten a hit in seven of his last eight games and isn't concerned about his teammates struggles at the dish. Says Thompson, "If you're a .300 hitter, at the end of the season you're going to be a .300 hitter, no matter which way you start." He went on to address the struggles of one particular Thunder teammate. "There's a guy in there right now who's down a little bit, Andy Cannizaro. The man's a .300 hitter, he's just struggling a little but right now, but he'll get there."

Thompson is confident that his team's struggles at the plate will turn around, that his team's fortunes in the standings will turn around, and that if he's meant to advance that that will happen as well. Thompson lets his spirituality guide him and that helps him surrender the events of his career to God's will. Thompson believes that what happens in terms of promotions and the like is based on God. "I feel like if you are supposed to be playing in the Major Leagues than that's where you will be." says Thompson. His intense spirituality also helps him keep his composure when other players might give in to pressing and frustration. Thompson believes, "I think it (my spirituality) helps me not get upset as much, not second guess myself. If its meant to be, then it will happen."

Another one of Thompson's great attributes is his love of the game and his desire to play. He loves to be a part of the team and contribute to the team's success through his on-field efforts. "I don't care where I play just as long as I'm playing and contributing to the team's success. That's all I can ask for." says Thompson. To that end, Thompson is unconcerned about his likelihood to be promoted to Columbus or where he'll be at season's end.

Thompson is one of the bedrocks of the Thunder and he is proving it again this year. The usually soft-spoken and humble outfielder can translate his veteran status in Trenton into clubhouse respect. This respect can in turn be used to teach the other members of this Thunder club valuable lessons about the game and about life. Thompson has the skills and the effort to land a spot on a Major League roster, but the big question is will anyone notice his value. If not, Thompson doesn't take it personally and it will just not have been God's will.

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