ZACH THOMPSON, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: October 23, 1993
Drafted: 5th Round, 138th overall pick, 2014 (White Sox)
How Acquired: Trade (from Marlins)
College: University of Texas Arlington
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|The White Sox drafted Thompson in 2014 and he made very slow progress through their system. He usually struggled at each new level and didn’t reach AAA until 2019. In 2017, Chicago moved him from starting to the bullpen. He never made the 40-man roster and became a free agent after the pandemic season, signing with Miami for 2021. In June, the Marlins called him up and he pitched very well, first as a starter and then in relief. Thompson is a big guy who throws a fastball that sits a little over 92, but his main pitch is a very effective cutter. He also throws a curve, change and sinker, all of which played as roughly average pitches in 2021. The Pirates acquired him in the Jacob Stallings trade.
Thompson started 11 games in advanced rookie ball and pitched reasonably well, with a low K rate.
The White Sox moved Thompson up to Low-A, where he made 16 starts. He had just a passable season, as walks were a problem. He had some extreme ups and downs, like an 8.84 ERA in five July starts and 1.95 in five starts in August.
The White Sox kept Thompson initially in Low-A, where he made 16 starts. His control still wasn’t great, but he sharply increased his K rate and opponents batted just .193 against him. He moved up to High-A for ten starts and got the opposite results, with opponents batting .292. Baseball America rated him the Sox’ 25th best prospect after the season.
Thompson spent the entire season at High-A and struggled. He had subpar walk and K rates, and opponents batted .281. About halfway through the season, the Sox moved him to the bullpen and he started pitching a little better in August.
Thompson split the season between High-A and AA, pitching strictly in relief. He was very successful at both levels, missing a lot more bats. Opponents batted just .206 against him for the season. BA rated him 28th in the Sox’ system.
Thompson opened the season in AAA, moved down to AA for four games and then went back to AAA. He had good walk and K rates there, but was hampered by gopher balls, as he allowed 15.
Thompson didn’t pitch during the season and, when Chicago failed to add him to the 40-man roster, he became a minor league free agent. He signed with Miami.
Thompson made eight relief appearances in AAA, which obviously didn’t go well. The Marlins called him up anyway, in early June, and put him in their rotation. He made 13 starts, getting very good results, although he got a little shaky over the last five. Miami then moved him to the bullpen and he continued pitching well, making a dozen relief appearances and one start the rest of the season. Overall, Thompson didn’t miss a lot of bats, but he was well above average in limiting hard contact. Opponents managed just a 227/301/374 line against him. He had trouble with left-handed batters, allowing them an .807 OPS, but right-handed batters managed only .557. The metrics didn’t totally buy his success, as he had an xFIP of 4.65.
Thompson came out of nowhere for Miami, but he might go back there if the Pirates don’t do a better job with their pitchers. Almost none of them have made significant progress since the new front office took over, except after going elsewhere. Thompson will probably be a favorite to make the rotation going into 2022.
|2022: Major League Minimum|
|Signing Bonus: $363,400
MiLB Debut: 2014
MLB Debut: 6/7/2021
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2028
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/2015
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.121
|June 8, 2011: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 48th round, 1442nd overall pick.
June 6, 2014: Drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 5th round, 138th overall pick; signed on June 10.
November 2, 2020: Became a free agent.
December 3, 2020: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Miami Marlins.
June 5, 2021: Contract purchased by the Miami Marlins.
November 29, 2021: Traded by the Miami Marlins with Kyle Nicolas and Connor Scott to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jacob Stallings.