RHP Jake Thompson was part of the mega-deal that sent Phillies pitcher, Cole Hamels, to the Texas Rangers at last year's trade deadline. Almost immediately, Thompson became the Phillies' top pitching prospect. Interestingly enough, three of the other five minor leaguers dealt to Philly for Hamels, Jake Diekman, and CA$H money have quickly become top prospects themselves as Jared Eickhoff has already made it to the Big League Ball Club while OF Nick Williams and C Jorge Alfaro are the 3rd and 4th ranked prospects, respectively.
Since coming over from Texas, Jake Thompson has put up ridiculous numbers in the minors. In 2015, in seven games at AA, JT boasted a 5-1 record with a 1.80 ERA accompanied by 34 K's over 45 IP with a WHIP of 1.00 and an opponent's batting average of .217!
Coming off this strong finish, Thompson was invited to 2016 Spring Training and then assigned to the AAA Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. At AAA, he went 11-5 over 21 games striking out 87 over 129.2 IP. He had a respectable ERA of 2.50 and a WHIP of 1.10 and held opposing hitters to .225 AVG. In his last 11 starts at AAA, Thompson went 8-0 with a 1.21 ERA. All of this was good enough to earn Thompson an August 6 call up to the Bigs.
Phillies fans were eager to see their new big arm but, since August 6, have been sorely disappointed. In his MLB debut against the Padres (who have South Jersey native and Uppy's high school teammate Brett Kennedy in their farm system, shout out BK!) Thompson couldn't get out of the 5th inning. He gave up three hits, two walks, a wild pitch and four runs in the first inning as the Phillies went on to lose 9-7. We all understood that this was a 22 year old's Major League debut and he was most likely a little nervous, but he has yet to bounce back.
Through four starts in the bigs, Thompson has gone 1-3 with a 9.87 ERA (!!), 1.81 WHIP, opponent's AVG of .287 and K:BB ratio of 1. So what has changed since the 8-0 1.21 ERA guy that we were creaming our pants over? We all see that Thompson has the tenacity in him to get guys out, but he appears to be pitching differently. Jake is best known for his powerful sinking fastball, yet he keeps hanging breaking balls to get smacked. I don't know if he has lost his confidence in this majors or if major league hitters are really just that good that they figured him out. Hopefully Pete Mackanin and pitching coach Bob McClure (who owns the filthiest mustache in the league) can fix Thompson's psyche and mold him into the stud he should be.
As we all know 2016 was not going to be our year anyway, we can just look forward to the September call ups and watch the real future of JP Crawford and the other fellas from Texas show us what 2017 and on will be. Hopefully that time span will include a dominant staff of Nola, Velasquez, Eickhoff, and Thompson, while praying that Adam Morgan- the Cliff Lee doppelganger- figures his shit out. Until 2017, enjoy the Phillies that we have, and cheer Ryan Howard into the sunset.