No. 3 prospect Thorpe set to be called up for MLB debut

June 9th, 2024

CHICAGO -- , the No. 3 White Sox prospect and No. 54 prospect overall, according to MLB Pipeline, will make his Major League debut Tuesday night in Seattle.

The right-hander’s first career start was announced Sunday -- before Chicago's 6-4 loss to the Red Sox in 10 innings at Guaranteed Rate Field -- by manager Pedro Grifol, after Thorpe posted a 7-1 record, 1.35 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 60 innings for Double-A Birmingham this season.

“I’ve seen his last couple outings. I always watch these guys on video here,” said Grifol of Thorpe. “He’s a strike-thrower, he’s a competitor.

“He’s got a plus-plus-plus changeup. He knows how to pitch, he’s calm and has a really good demeanor. Looking forward to seeing him pitch at this level because he looks like a big leaguer.”

Thorpe, 23, was the centerpiece of a big four-player return from San Diego in the Dylan Cease trade during Spring Training on March 13. Before that move, Thorpe was dealt from the Yankees to San Diego as part of the Juan Soto deal on Dec. 7, 2023.

While he doesn’t have the overpowering fastball on the level of Garrett Crochet, topping out in the 94 mph range, Thorpe knows how to work a game. He also has one of the best changeups in the Minors.

“With the lower velo, I tend to watch guys that don’t throw as hard,” Thorpe told during an April interview. “Zac Gallen, and I always grew up watching Max Scherzer but definitely different repertoires.

“I just like the way he competed. But other than that, I try to be my own person. You kind of try not to mimic your game, but you look at guys who are similar to you and just kind of see how they go about sequencing.”

Sunday’s White Sox news also included right-hander Nick Nastrini, the No. 8 White Sox prospect, being optioned to Triple-A Charlotte. The 24-year-old has an 8.39 ERA over six starts with the White Sox covering two big league stints, joining right-handers Jonathan Cannon and Jordan Leasure, third baseman Bryan Ramos, and outfielders Duke Ellis and Zack DeLoach as young players who have received their first Major League opportunity this season.

Solid Minor League numbers can be eye-catching, and become a necessity in that promotion process. The real evaluation begins once they hit the White Sox.

“That’s where I think this move is a really good move,” Grifol said. “ It gives us the opportunity to see a guy we think checks a ton of boxes to be able to pitch here and allows us to evaluate where he is in his development.

“If by chance it identifies some of the things we have to continue to improve on, then you know, that’s why Nastrini is going down. He's got some homework to do. All these guys are big big parts of the future. It kind of puts them in a position to compete here at the Major Leagues and it puts us as an organization to be able to evaluate where these guys are right now.”

There should be more promotions to come for a rebuilding team sitting at 17-48 entering Sunday’s series finale. The Birmingham starting rotation alone has candidates in Jairo Iriarte, Mason Adams, and Jake Eder for ‘24, not to mention Ky Bush, who just happens to be Thorpe’s roommate in Birmingham.

“Yeah, great guy. It’s pretty cool to talk with him and get to know him these last two months,” Bush told during a recent interview. “[His changeup], it’s unreal. It’s pretty cool to watch. It feels like an automatic swing and miss. It’s pretty cool to see him have so much confidence in a pitch and constantly execute it.”

Left-hander Noah Schultz, the No. 2 White Sox prospect and No. 39 overall, has a 0.77 ERA for the Barons, but won’t be part of the ‘24 White Sox. Thorpe joins Ellis and Ramos as 2024 White Sox callups going straight from Double-A to the Majors.

“Calling guys up from Double-A, as opposed to Triple-A, is not that big of a deal,” Grifol said. “We have a clear understanding and knowledge of the Major Leagues. There’s boxes you have to be able to check to be able to get called up here, and [Thorpe] checks those boxes.”