BLUF: Huge raw power plays despite strikeouts, making him a potential All-Star.
The Player: Trayce Thompson (OF, Chicago White Sox) – Out of character for the Sox, Thompson was an over-slot second round pick in 2009. After debuting in rookie ball that summer, he made his full-season debut with Kannapolis in 2010, posting a .229/.302/.433 line as a 19-year old. He repeated the level in 2011 and improved across the board with a .241/.329/.457 line that was buoyed by 36 doubles and 24 home runs. In 116 games with High-A Winston-Salem in 2012, he ripped 28 doubles and 22 home runs along with a career high batting average of .254. He received brief trials at Double-A and Triple-A at the end of the season, hitting .280 and .167, respectively.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Personal Observation (SAL 2011), Industry Contacts
Body (6-3, 195): Big, strong, physical body. Prototypical frame and athleticism. Plus-plus athlete. Major League body right now. Looks the part stepping off the bus.
Hit: Tons of swing and miss that will always be present. Lacks recognition of spin, leading to flailing swings on just mediocre breaking balls. Actually knows the strike zone very well, just has to improve pitch recognition. Swing is shorter now than early in career. Uses the whole field better and can drive the ball to all parts of the park. Will work counts at times and that can allow him to get in a position to find pitches to punish. Swing and miss tendencies will hold back hitting projection, leaving him as a well below-average hitter long term. Grade – 20/30
Power: Huge raw. Enormous pull power and more than enough pop to drive the ball out of the park to center and the opposite field. Very good bat speed and highly leverage swing generates power. Has potential for 25+ home runs, even in spite of contact issues. Power already present in live game situations. Grade (raw power) – 70/70
Arm: Easy plus arm and occasional throws better than that. True weapon in CF and can support move to RF as well. Will help control the opposition’s running game with his arm. Grade – 60/60
Fielding: Solid defender in CF. Takes good routes and generally has good reads. Not a burner in CF but has ability to go get it in the gaps. Can stick in CF but has classic RF profile as well. Plus defender if moved to a corner, average up the middle. Grade – 50/50 (in CF)
Speed: Average runner home to first. Aggressive base runner that can take extra bases and make things happen. Improved instincts led to better base stealing. Could steal 15-20 bases a year at the big league level. Speed plays in CF. Athleticism should allow him to maintain speed long term. Grade – 50/50
Summation: Tools galore. Impressive plus-plus raw stands out in BP and games. Potential for 25 home runs a year and additional power in the form of doubles and triples. Average will be low, possibly in the .250 range. Will strikeout frequently but power is so impressive and real that it still plays. Will get on base a little bit because of knowledge of the strike zone and willingness to work counts. Arm is a weapon that can control base runners. Solid defender in CF but doesn’t stand out. Could be plus glove in RF, with arm to match and overall physical and offensive profile to fit the RF corner. Potential All-Star despite swing-and-miss issues. Still needs some developmental time.
Relative Risk: High. Contact issues will always make him a high-risk player.
Future: Thomspon is ready for his first true challenge at the upper levels of the system. He should start the 2013 season in Double-A and could move to Triple-A before the end of the campaign. Should be on the White Sox radar for the 2014 season.