Scouting profile: Trayce Thompson
Right-handed-hitting Trayce Thompson comes from an athletic family. His dad Mychal was the first of three family members to play professional basketball and was the No. 1 pick in the 1978 NBA Draft. Trayce's brothers Klay and Mychel followed him.
Even though Thompson can play basketball, he chose to play baseball. He was selected by the White Sox in the second round of the 2009 Draft out of Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
Long and lean at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Thompson has the athletic frame that runs in his family.
After parts of seven seasons in the White Sox development program, Thompson, 24, has been promoted to the Major League roster. The beginning of this season at Triple-A Charlotte was one of his best ever, earning him the promotion. Part of the reason for Thompson's success was a sharp decline in his strikeout rate.
Thompson made his big league debut Aug. 4 against the Tampa Bay Rays. He went hitless in his only at-bat, though he has settled down since that first game and has had better results recently.
Thompson is No. 14 on the White Sox Top 30 Prospects list.
Thompson has long arms, which he extends well in his hitting approach. He has never really shown an advanced hitting tool, however, compiling a .241 career Minor League batting average in 2,765 plate appearances. That said, Thompson has shown some double-digit home run capability.
Among Thompson's offensive strengths is his ability to recognize pitches and exercise plate discipline and patience. He does see a lot of pitches and has a fairly good walk rate.
Thompson has an aggressive stroke and appears to be most effective when he pulls the ball. He hits better and just seems to be more comfortable against left-handed pitching.
Thompson is a good defender with enough arm strength and accuracy to play center field. Because he takes long strides and has good closing speed, he can cover lots of ground. Thompson takes good routes. Due to his above-average range, center is probably his best outfield position, but he is very capable of playing the corners.
Thompson's speed is probably his most prominent and refined tool. With a quick first step and above-average speed, he can steal bases, take an extra base with relative ease and take charge in the outfield.
Many scouts believe Thompson can become a dangerous hitter in hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field. Given his youth and his frame, his power potential remains. Thompson has recently shown an uptick in that area. If he gets enough playing time, he could become a player that hits 15 home runs and steals 15 bases or better per year.
To date, Thompson has not yet consistently responded to quality pitching. In particular, breaking balls and offspeed pitches cause him some trouble.
Thompson didn't have the luxury of seeing college pitching, forcing him to learn and develop his hitting mechanics solely in the Minor Leagues. He repeated Double-A and didn't have great results in either his 2013 or '14 season, hitting below .240 both times.
I find this interesting
While growing up, Thompson had a chance to learn about hitting and work with Hall of Famer Rod Carew.
The future for Thompson
It is difficult for a player drafted out of high school to make an immediate impact once he turns professional. It has taken Thompson some time to find his stroke and learn the game.
Thompson has upside in every phase of his game, except in hitting for average and home run power.
Thompson may have enough all-around athletic ability to squeeze out a full-time job one day. For now, he may be a fourth or fifth outfielder capable of playing good defense and coming off the bench as a late-inning replacement. Thompson's good speed, fine instincts and overall athletic ability will only continue to serve as focal points for his future.
Thompson in a word