Reigning Pipeline Pitcher of the Year continues Double-A dominance

Thorpe, the No. 3 White Sox prospect, boasts 1.35 ERA through 11 starts this year

June 6th, 2024

A lot has changed in the last calendar year for . After MLB Pipeline named Thorpe its Pitching Prospect of the Year following his pro debut in 2023, Thorpe was traded from the Yankees to the Padres as part of the Juan Soto deal in December. Three months later, San Diego flipped Thorpe to the White Sox in a package for Dylan Cease. That's two blockbusters in one winter.

Three months later, there is one thing that hasn’t changed about Thorpe in his first season in the White Sox system.

He’s still dominating.

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Chicago’s No. 3 prospect and No. 54 overall, Thorpe is making a case to put himself in the running for some postseason accolades again with the way he’s pitching this season. The latest example came Wednesday, when Thorpe excelled despite Double-A Birmingham’s 3-1 loss to Tennessee at Smokies Stadium, striking out seven across six innings of one-run ball.

Thorpe allowed a leadoff homer to Cubs No. 5 prospect James Triantos but settled down after that, retiring 10 straight at one point and 12 of his last 13 hitters vs. a Smokies’ lineup stacked with four Top 100 overall prospects.

“I settled in after that [leadoff homer] and was able to continue to get back to work and get back to the game plan,” Thorpe said. “They have a couple good hitters. You kind of read the scouting report and learn what they’re going to swing and miss at, where their cold zones are and go from there; mix in different pitches each at-bat and throughout the game, and try to keep them off balance.”

It’s what the White Sox are growing to expect from Thorpe, who is a cool 7-1 with a 1.35 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and .172 opponent average through his first 11 starts in Chicago’s system. Including the five starts at Double-A that Thorpe made in 2023 in the Yankees’ system, the 23-year-old righty is 11-1 with a 1.39 ERA across 16 career starts at that level.

Those are results.

Thorpe is no stranger to getting results. He was a consensus All-American at Cal Poly and finished second in NCAA Division I in strikeouts before the Yankees made him a second-round pick in 2022. Last year in his pro debut, he led the Minors in strikeouts (182 in 139 1/3 innings), strikeout minus walk percentage (26.9) and swinging-strike rate (18.6 percent), and ranked second in wins (14), winning percentage (.875), WHIP (0.98) and strikeout percentage (34) while reaching Double-A.

Upon the trade to Chicago, Thorpe immediately became the most advanced White Sox pitching prospect and has a chance to move quickly. His changeup is a 70-grade pitch, considered one of the best in the Minor Leagues.

“My preparation is going to be the same no matter where I’m at, so I don’t think it's changed too much,” Thorpe said. “I know what I need to do and what I need to do to get ready. So that hasn’t changed at all.”

Thorpe said his goal heading into this season was to “start where I left off, continue to get better and hopefully get to the big leagues this year.” The way he’s pitching, he doesn't seem long for Double-A.

Asked if he’s pleased with how his season has gone thus far, Thorpe chuckled.

“Yeah,” he said. “It’s been pretty good.”