In the 18th round of the MLB Draft the White Sox selected a familiar name; Randall Thorpe. OK, so maybe Thorpe isn’t a familiar name to most, but you may remember that he was selected by the Sox out of high school in the 29th round of the 2008 draft. He didn’t sign with the team then, but maybe the second time’s the charm.
Randall Thorpe was an explosive athlete coming out of high school in 2008 and he was the fastest runner at the 2007 Area Code Games, running a 6.4-second 60-yard dash. He measured in at 6’1″, 170 lbs and his offensive game was all about projection, but it was on base paths and in the field where he really stood out. He had a strong commitment to Texas A&M, and teams didn’t consider his offensive ability strong enough to buy him out of that commitment, hence why he fell to the 29th round.
Expected to star as an Aggie and develop into a legit 5-tool player, Thorpe only had 21 AB’s as a freshman, going 2-21, finishing with a line of .095/.136/.238 with 3 SB/4 ATT. Unsatisfied with his playing time he transferred to San Jacinto JC (TX), but not before he excelled in the MINK Summer Collegiate League (wooden bat league), where he hit .282/.400/.479 and flashed his defensive prowess in center field. At San Jacinto Thorpe hit .297/.420/532 with 6 home runs and 11 stolen bases. He walked at a good rate, 16.1%, but his strikeout percentage, 25.4%, is alarming. Thorpe flashed all five tools at San Jacinto, but questions over his ability to hit remain, due to his inability to make consistent contact.
Scouts see a player with average or better tools across the board. He has above average raw power, but in order to tap into it, he will likely need to bulk up, which may in turn affect his plus-plus speed. His hit tool is fringe average. Thorpe really shines on defense, where he’s a plus center fielder with plus-plus range. His arm was once considered above average, but is now seen as more fringe average. The tools are there, and the upside is good, but Thorpe hasn’t managed to put it all together yet.
At best you hope Randall Thorpe can become a Michael Bourn type of player, league average offensive ability with speed to burn and plus to plus-plus defense from center field. In all likelihood Thorpe’s contact issues will cause him to fizzle out in the higher minors, but athletic players with good bloodlines (his father played in the Texas Rangers organization) and solid tools across the board always have a chance.