The White Sox selected outfielder Trayce Thompson 61st overall a year ago out of high school. He signed for $625,000 and got roughed up in rookie ball. This wasn't a shock, he was 'raw' when drafted. A year later he is 19 and a member of the Low-A Kannapolis lineup. How is his development coming along?
Thompson began the season in extended spring training, but made his Kannapolis debut April 17 and started like he was shot out of a cannon. He was 14/38 (.368) in his first ten games with three home runs and an OPS of 1.205. Obviously, this sent Sox fans buzzing about this kid's potential.
Since then he has come back down to earth a bit. Over his next 16 games he went just 8-62 (.129). Maybe this was the league figuring him out, maybe it was merely a slump. Either way that shouldn't be enough to dampen the excitement about Thompson. A recent rebound has his overall numbers at .230/.300/.460 in 34 games. Compare this to his combined 2009 slash line (.198/.265/.245) with Bristol and Great Falls and the improvement is evident. So how much better is he and how excited should we be? If you've read my posts before, you know this means it's time for a table. 2009 stats vs. 2010 stats to see where he is improving and where he needs work.
In the corner outfield prospect preview I said "The goal would be for Thompson to shorten his swing and at least flash
the tools and potential he has." So far, so good. Everything is better this year. It was hard to do worse, but this is a good start for the teenager. I don't know if he has actually shortened his swing, but the results are
obviously better. The strikeouts are still high, but we've seen a significant drop this year. Ideally he would draw more walks, but he's in the passable range right now. His power is surprisingly far along.
There have been good things said about his work ethic and it's showing in his numbers. Entering the year I would have been pleased with Trayce putting up slightly better numbers than this in rookie ball. Given his improvement in plate discipline and huge improvement in power while being 19 in Low-A, I'm very excited. He has a long way to go, but he's showing talent that the Sox don't have enough of.