The Chicago White Sox have broken away from a recent trend of theirs by selecting RHP Matthew Thompson out of Cypress Ranch High School in Texas.
The club has taken college performers in Hostetler’s three previous drafts at the helm and this is a big deviation from that strategy. Adding more prep talent in this 2019 class was a rumored direction for the scouting staff and we highlighted some potential candidates for this selection last week.
Thompson was the best prep pitcher in Texas coming into the year, but had an inconsistent spring on the mound. The 18-year-old is a 6’2″ 185 pound righty and has a very projectable frame.
White Sox take Matthew Thompson, one of the high-upside prep arms remaining. Highly-projectable build with loud arm speed, into the mid-90’s with flashes of a plus breaking ball.
— Brian Sakowski (@B_Sakowski_PG) June 4, 2019
#WhiteSox 2-4: Matthew Thompson, RHP, Cypress Ranch HS (TX) – prototypical high-end athlete who takes the mound, sits low/mid 90’s with more to come, shows some feel for locating curveball, dreaming on upside #MLBDraft
— Taylor Blake Ward (@TaylorBlakeWard) June 4, 2019
Thompson was ranked as the #69 player in the draft class according to MLB Pipeline. The publication mentions that he threw in the mid-90s at the World Wood Bat Association World Championships in 2017. He has an ultra quick arm and athletic delivery. He can get his 60-grade fastball up to 96 mph on good days. Thompson lacked consistency this spring and while his fastball doesn’t feature a lot of life, it does have good plane from a high three-quarters arm slot.
Matt’s curveball also flashes plus at times. He also shows promising deception and sink on a changeup. Pipeline lists a 55-grade curveball and 50-grade changeup to go with the plus fastball.
If I’m picking an arm we’ve seen so far it’s Cypress Ranch righty Matthew Thompson. Projectable 6-2, 92-95, gorgeous arm action, tight low-80s slider.
— Eric Longenhagen (@longenhagen) July 21, 2018
Baseball America ranked Matthew Thompson as the #48 player in the 2019 draft class. The magazine mentions the right hander’s “big performances on the travel ball circuit.” The scouting notes rave about his power fastball with feel to spin and big athleticism. They also note that his fastball fell into the 88-92 mph range at times this spring and some scouts have concerns about his ability to throw strikes consistently.
He possesses a mid-80s slider with sharp, late, two-plane break and it’s one of the better sliders in the class. Thompson also shows an upper-70s curveball with more 11-5 shape than horizontal bite of the slider. The publication also lauds the fact that he came into the year as the top prep pitcher from the state of Texas. He lacked consistency this spring and some scouts worry about a wrist wrap in the back of his arm stroke that could limit his control moving forward.
Prospect Pipeline video
Video courtesy of 2080 Baseball
Pitching mechanics video from TopVelocity.net
The White Sox need to add pitching in this draft class and they need to add younger players to their highly-ranked farm system. This is an upside play for an organization that has had a successful history of developing projectable pitching.
The slot value for pick #45 is $1.65 million and it will be interesting to see what the organization does from a strategic standpoint with the rest of the draft class. Thompson should begin the season with the rookie level AZL White Sox and will almost assuredly sign instead of attending Texas A&M.
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