The Phillies promoted top pitching prospect Jake Thompson. What is the fantasy impact of the promotion?
The Philadelphia Phillies have had their fair share of struggles the last handful of seasons, but their future looks extremely bright. Even though they are armed with top-level minor league talent at the shortstop, centerfield, and catcher spots, their biggest strength, is the bevy of upside young arms they have in their system.
Aaron Nola, Vincent Velasquez, Jerad Eickhoff, and Zach Eflin have the potential to create one of best up and coming rotations in all of baseball and now top prospect, Jake Thompson, could potentially make it that much better.
Jake Thompson was a second round draft pick for the Detroit Tigers in 2012. He was traded to Texas in 2014, and then dealt again to the Phillies last season in the Cole Hamels deal. Thompson has been solid throughout the minor leagues, he has a career 3.06 ERA, and he entered the 2016 season as a consensus top-100 prospect.
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Thompson started the season in AAA, and has turned in a starling performance. He has a, 2.50 ERA/1.09 WHIP/87 K/37 BB line, over 21 starts. He would have probably been promoted earlier if not for the Phillies’ rotation being packed, but a sprained elbow suffered by Aaron Nola, now opens the door for his debut.
Most scouts seem to be torn on Thompson’s ceiling, even with his top prospect ranking. His fastball sits in the low-90s, and tops out around 94. His fastball command is an asset, evidenced by his 2.66 BB per game this season, and that skill should certainly transition well.
His best pitch however, is his mid-80s slider, which has the sharp tilt necessary to serve as his out pitch. Thomson also features a change-up and curveball, and even though they are not considered plus pitches, he is not afraid to use any of the four at any time in the count.
His first start comes on Aug. 6th, against the Padres in San Diego. Thompson only has a 6.0 SO/9 in AAA, a nearly two K drop from last season, but certainly a good enough total for the back-end of fantasy rotations. His command has also allowed him to avoid the long ball, as he only surrendered 10 HR over 129 innings in 2016.
Fantasy owners should watch Jake Thompson’s first start to see how his stuff plays against major league hitting. He certainly has the pitch mix to get batters out, and it will interesting to see how many swing and misses he can generate with his arsenal.
Jake Thompson may only profile as a middle of the rotation arm in the future, but he is an intriguing arm for the rest of this season. The Phillies are going to want to see what he can do in the rotation and Aaron Nola’s prolonged absence, will allow Thompson to get an extended look. Fantasy owners should make him a player to monitor over the next two weeks, as he could provide quality innings over the fantasy playoff stretch.