With Aaron Nola heading to the 15-day disabled list with an elbow injury, the Philadelphia Phillies will promote right-hander Jake Thompson to the major league roster. He is expected to make his MLB debut tomorrow against the San Diego Padres. Here's a look at what to expect.
Thompson was originally drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the second round in 2012 from high school in Heath, Texas. He's been in the headlines the last two summers due to trades.
From the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book
Jake Thompson, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 6-4 WT: 250 DOB: January 31, 1994
2013: Grade B-; 2014: Grade B-; 2015: Grade B
In 2014 Jake Thompson was a key prospect in the Joakim Soria trade between the Tigers and Rangers. In 2015 he was one of the key prospects in the Cole Hamels trade between the Rangers and Phillies. He scuffled some in the Rangers system and a hoped-for breakout did not occur. At his best, Thompson features a 90-95 MPH fastball along with a solid slider, curveball, and change-up. He wasn’t always at said best however. Texas League observers reported that his change-up and his overall command went backwards last spring compared to what he was doing in 2014, perhaps linked to mechanical inconsistency. Things improved some after the trade. He’ll need another year in the high minors to polish that off but I remain optimistic about his chances to be a solid number three starter. Grade B.
Thompson has really turned things around in the Phillies system. He's made 21 starts for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, posting a 2.50 ERA in 130 innings with just 105 hits allowed and an 87/37 K/BB ratio. He's been pounding the strike zone efficiently with his fastball. His secondary pitches, notably his curveball as well as the change-up that was troublesome last year, have improved.
The mechanical inconsistency noted early in 2015 looks resolved and his command within the strike zone has been sharper. A higher strikeout rate would be nice, but in general Thompson has been cruising through the International League and has little left to prove there.
Overall, the pre-season take still holds: he projects as a number three starter and is ready for an extensive trial.