Jake Thompson is from Florence, Oregon. Known to scouts in high school, he was drafted in the 34th round in 2013 by the Chicago Cubs but did not sign and honored his commitment to Oregon State University. Used as a swingman as a freshman, he posted a 4.25 ERA in 36 innings over six starts and eight relief appearances, posting a 23/21 K/BB.
He pitched just six innings as a sophomore due to a back injury and was given a redshirt. Coming back in 2016 he posted a 4.28 ERA in 61 innings with a 53/28 K/BB.
His 2017 season has been much different and much more successful: 1.52 ERA in 118 innings with a 113/36 K/BB and just 76 hits allowed. He’s 14-0 in 17 starts and his draft stock has leapt accordingly.
Thompson is listed at 6-2, 205, born September 22nd, 1994.
The redshirt junior features a 93-95 MPH fastball, reportedly peaking at 97-98 in some games. His second pitch is a plus slider. Both the fastball and the slider earn 60 grades and his command of both pitches is much improved compared to 2016.
Thompson has worked to develop his change-up this spring. It isn’t as good as the fastball and slider but has made enough progress for many scouts to project him as a starter at higher levels. He is aggressive and has a confident mound presence.
The change-up needs more work and while his walk rate is lower this year, his command within the strike zone is still inconsistent. His stocky build and history of back trouble lead some observers to view him as a reliever at higher levels. The redshirt season makes him an “old” junior at age 23 and he is not classically projectable.
Thompson’s impressive spring has boosted his stock from fifth to eighth round territory closer to the top of the draft. A club that sees him as a starter or fast-rising reliever could select him as early as the second round, and his relative lack of negotiating leverage would also make him attractive for many teams.