Leading up to the trade deadline, Phillies fans were on the edge of their seats. It had been reported that any deal the Phillies would make around the deadline would involve Hellickson. However, GM Matt Klentak did not feel any deal was worth making. If Hellickson was dealt, Jake Thompson was the go-to prospect. After no moves at the deadline, many Phillies fans went back into hiding, knowing the chances of seeing Thompson were slim, but Nola’s elbow injury has opened up a rotation spot for him.
It’s always great to see one of your top prospects be called up, but you never want it to be at the expense of one of your franchise cornerstones such as Aaron Nola. There is no real shocker here for who will take his spot in the big league rotation, Jake Thompson. And boy has he earned it! It would appear Thompson thought a promotion was likely as well as he said “seeing the Phillies are actually — especially this early in the season — willing to go get a young guy that’s not on the 40-man roster and give him a chance … not that I need any more incentive to go out and work harder, but seeing that, it gives you a little extra boost.”
Thompson sure has been good this season after getting off to a slow start. As of July 20th, his record is 11-5 and his ERA sits at 2.50. But that ERA does not do justice to the awesome two-month span (June and July) that Thompson has put together. During that span, Thompson is 8-0, has pitched 74.1 innings, and has allowed only 9 RUNS! That is ridiculous!!! What’s even more ridiculous is that 5 of those runs came in one game, meaning before that game he had only allowed 4 runs in almost 70 innings. This season he has at least 6 innings pitched in 10 of his 11 starts.
Being called up is probably pretty surreal for Thompson seeing as he has moved around fairly often for the beginning of his professional career. He was in two pretty notable deadline deals! Many Phillies fans might not know that Thompson started his professional career with the Tigers after being drafted by them in the second round of the 2012 MLB draft. He chose to forego his commitment to TCU and play in Detroit. He pitched two seasons in the Tigers Minor league system before being traded with Corey Knebel to the Texas Rangers in exchange for reliever Joakim Soria.
Then, of course, you heard Thompson’s name included in the huge prospect package we received from the Cole Hamels trade, which included Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams, Alec Asher, Jerad Eickhoff and Jake Thompson. But out of the 3 pitching prospects we received, Thompson was widely regarded as the best prospect in the deal. And now we get to see how he will fare against big league talent.
So what can Phillies fans expect out of Jake Thompson in his first start in the big leagues? Thompson projects as a number 3 starter in the bigs. He pounds the strike zone with his fastball which ranges from 90-95 mph. Thompson also has a strong slider that is easily his second best pitch. He has improved on both his changeup and curveball and could use them regularly as strikeout pitches.
Quite frankly, Jake Thompson has absolutely nothing left to prove in the minors. He has been absolutely filthy. After trading Cole Hamels to the Rangers, Forbes wrote about how this deal could go down as one of the “greatest instances of highway robbery in baseball”. Thompson will play a huge role in how we view this deal in the coming years.