Right before the All-Star break, the White Sox called up prospect Carlos Sanchez to start at short stop for the final game of the unofficial first half. He was always expected to start just the one game, but the team let him stay up for a couple extra in a utility role as the bullpen was well-rested after the break.
Right after Saturday’s win over the Astros, Sanchez was indeed optioned back to AAA Charlotte. Nobody was sure who’d be called up, as the only logical choice on the 40-man roster was Andre Rienzo, who is ineligible for a recall (a player has to be down for ten days after being optioned unless he’s replacing an injured player).
So, a bit on the 27 year old rookie and newest south sider …
Thompson is an Alabama native and an Auburn product, so you know Frank Thomas will approve of this move. He’s a big guy, standing 6-foot-5 and weighing in at 225 lb.
He’s never been a kid to garner much attention because as a 44th round pick and someone that’s always been a reliever, his ceiling was never deemed to be very high. Nonetheless he’s pitched at every level throughout the White Sox’ organization and has always dominated.
Through 2012, he’d never had a stint at any level resulting in anything other than an ERA in the high-1.00’s or low-to-mid 2.00’s. After some nice work for the Birmingham Barons of AA last season he earned himself a promotion to AAA Charlotte, where he struggled for the first time in his professional career.
However that was just a 12-game stint to finish off the year, and Thompson has been able to figure things out this season for the Knights.
Over 31 appearances and 48.1 IP, there has been just one issue: the walks. He’s dished out 4.5 free passes per 9.0 IP, which is a bit concerning as he hasn’t struggled in that department since 2009. But if he can cut down on the walks, the White Sox may be on to something, as even at AAA the hitters haven’t been able to do much with him.
Over his minor league career he’s struck out 9.5 batters per 9.0 IP, and that is up at 9.9 this season. His WHIP is 1.303, up from his career mark of 1.170 obviously because of the walks. Opposing hitters are slashing just .213/.303/.290 against him with just seven of 39 hits going for extra bases (three homers). And those numbers have been dropping of late, as he’s bounced back from a rough April with 2.5 absolutely dominant months.
At 27, it’s time to give a successful organizational lifer like Thompson his chance at the big leagues. We’ll see how the team chooses to use him, but in the White Sox bullpen, the opportunity to stick and even move to a significant role in the later innings is definitely there.
Photo via ‘Barons Beat’