Skip to main content

Lehigh Valley's Thompson could be next Phils starter

J Thompson 2
Thompson, image- Jay Floyd

ALLENTOWN, Pa- With some less than ideal efforts coming from the Phillies’ starting rotation in recent weeks, Triple-A starter Jake Thompson’s recent dominance of the International League could have him in line to fill a void at the big league level very soon.

In his latest six starts for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the 22-year-old, who was acquired as part of last summer’s trade that sent Cole Hamels to Texas, Thompson has tallied a 3-0 record with a 0.85 ERA.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing this season for the right-hander that was originally a 2nd round draft choice of Detriot in 2012. Through four April starts, Thompson was the owner of a 6.16 ERA. Recently, though, he has looked more like the dominant starter that the Phillies assigned to Double-A Reading last year when he led them into the postseason with a 5-1 record and 1.80 ERA in seven regular season starts following the trade.

Improvements for the Texas native since that troubling opening month this season have been directly tied to his physical workings on the mound.

“I finally got my mechanics overall in a place where I am consistently feeling comfortable on the mound. That’s the biggest difference,” Thompson said. “This little stretch that I’ve gotten on where I’ve been throwing well, I’ve just been able to put my body in the right position to throw.”

Of late, Thompson has been on point, locating his pitches well with sharp and refined secondary offerings. An ability to throw all of his pitches for strikes while keeping his body under control is the key for Thompson. He works daily with his pitching coach Dave Lundquist to keep things together.

“It's just him not trying to do too much,” Lundquist stated. “You know, then you kind of get to see what I saw last year in Reading, which is a confident young pitcher and we're getting to see that again.”

Between his Eastern League postseason run with Reading last year and now his 2016 campaign with Lehigh Valley, Thompson has enjoyed the opportunity to pitch in the Phillies’ regional backyard.

Thompson, who was ranked as the Phillies’ number two prospect heading into this season, finds it exciting that those in attendance at the IronPigs’ home venue, Coca-Cola Park, aren’t just there for a night out. They’re invested in the team and the players climbing toward the big leagues.

“Hopefully, they’ll be able to say 10 or 11 years from now that they’ve been watching me pitch since I was (21 years old) in the minor leagues,” Thompson said. “It’s awesome how passionate they are. Not even just for the Phillies, but the people that come out to these games, they want us to win. They’re not just here to hang out and have a beer and eat bad. They’re into the games and they want us to win here too. “

Looking forward to a time when he’ll be pitching at the top level, Thompson hopes to be able to do that with several of the players he has bonded with dating back to last year’s Reading team, many of whom (Andrew Knapp, J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams and others) are among the Phils’ top prospects. He says that chemistry is already a big factor for this core group that is expected to help the team return to the postseason hunt.

“We all know each other we all love playing with each other. I think all of us keep each other in line. It’s just-- it’s a cool feeling,” Thompson stated. “You don’t get to do that a lot in the minor leagues with all the player movement and transactions, so it’s pretty cool.”

Thompson made a pair of appearances for the Phillies during their spring Grapefruit League schedule, throwing five innings without allowing an earned run.

The sampling of the big league life during the pre-season has left the six-foot-four 235-pounder thirsty for an additional taste of the top level of the sport.

While it appears as though the Phillies, who have seen starter Aaron Nola post a 13.50 ERA over his last five starts and Adam Morgan sport a 6.55 ERA over 11 outings in a starting role, would welcome the addition of a hot arm to their starting rotation, if that opportunity doesn’t come this year for Thompson, he won’t be disappointed as long as he takes the strides he feels are necessary to move closer to that dream.

“My biggest thing is I want to finish this year feeling like I got better, like I got something out of it. So, I just got to keep working on it day by day and, hopefully, I get there.”

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

This Guy Speaks For All of You

This individual, interviewed by FOX 29 on Friday as the Phillies arrived back at Citizens Bank Park, said it best. When asked how he felt regarding the Phillies, he told Steve Keeley that he was, "Stoked, baby!" The unidentified phanatic then proclaimed, "We are talking about the Fightins here, the Fightins! Said!" Check out the media player below, as the transcribed version certainly does not do this phireball of phandom justice. The Phillies forced game 6 of the National League Championship Series with a 4-2 victory over the Giants in San Francisco on Thursday night. Game 6 will feature Roy Oswalt vs. Jonathan Sanchez in a return pitching match up from game 2. First pitch is scheduled for 7:57 pm EST at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Be sure to tune in on 97.3 ESPN's Weekend Sports Guide with Tyrone Johnson this afternoon around 1:15pm to hear me chatting about the Phillies! 97.3 is based in Atlantic City. You can listen live online HERE . _________

Who is Your Favorite Willie 'Mays' Hayes?

PhoulBallz.com is wondering which individual who has portrayed Willie "Mays" Hayes is the favorite of the public. Hayes, of course, is the character made famous in the Major League motion picture series. In Major League , Willie "Mays" Hayes was portrayed by budding Hollywood actor Wesley Snipes, who would go on to action movie superstardom. Snipes has starred in major motion pictures like the Blade trilogy, Passenger 57 , Undisputed and many more. Snipes remains an impact Hollywood actor, despite legal troubles related to income tax evasion. Snipes was replaced for the sequel, Major League II when his busy career, and possibly the film's budget, would not allow him to return, by Omar Epps. Another budding actor, Epps had previously worked with director David S. Ward, on the film The Program , and landed the role of Hayes, who had become a Hollywood action star over the off-season that occured between the two films. Epps' career portraying athletes rol

Wassup with dat? Vito Friscia edition

Friscia, image- Jay Floyd What's up with that Vito Friscia guy?  Well, he's a 24-year-old righty batting catcher that was drafted by the Phillies out of Hofstra University in 2019 with the team's final selection, 1200th overall, in the 40th round. But what's his deal?  Friscia opened the season with Class A Advanced Jersey Shore, where, in 16 games, he notched a .264 batting average with a pair of home runs, five doubles and seven RBI.  Last week, when Triple-A Lehigh Valley needed a reserve backstop, Friscia was promoted to fill their void.  When Rafael Marchan returned from a short stint in the big leagues, Friscia was assigned to the Double-A Reading roster.   Is he just a backup catcher?  For now, it seems that's his role.  But check out this quote from BlueClaws skipper Chris Adamson from earlier this month when I asked him about which player stood out to him as a guy that deserved recognition, but may not be getting it. "Vito Friscia is a guy that, earl