Right now, the saddest thing going on is the continued deterioration of David Wright. For many of us, it’s a heartbreaking experience, knowing that Spinal Stenosis has brought down our once excellent third base thumper. Probably the closest starting caliber 3rd Baseman to the Major Leagues for the Mets, Thompson has a lot of athleticism, but a lot of questions too. Thompson has a possibility of being what replaces Wright in the Majors in the future, but he’s got a few questions around him as well.
(Dustin Satloff/Brooklyn Cyclones/NY Post)
R/R, 6’0″ 210 lbs, 8/28/1993 (23), Drafted by the Mets in the 4th Round of the 2015 Draft out of the University of Miami
A multiple sport High School Star, Thompson was a sight to behold. Committed to attend University of Miami for Football and Baseball, Thompson had some of the best power in the high school ranks out of Westminster Christian HS. Thompson’s power in high school was so good, he set the record for most home runs in his school’s single season history with 19 and most in a high school career in Florida with 55. The previous record was held by Prince Fielder with 42 homers.
Despite offensive and athletic prowess, Thompson wasn’t drafted until the 38th round of the 2012 draft, by the Yankees and attended the U instead. Geared up to be a quarterback, Thompson suffered a torn labrum and had to deal with two surgeries in his throwing shoulder. He had to play as a designated hitter and hit .286/.368/.462 with 6 homers in 52 games.
The following season at Miami, Thompson suffered another injury, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and played only 30 games, and hit .278/.368/.352 with 6 doubles and a triple in 30 games. It was a lost season, but finally healed, Thompson went to the Cape Cod League during the 2014 summer and made a statement with a .331/.355/.466 slash line with four homers. The Cape Cod League was the perfect confidence booster, as he went back the next season to Miami and simply dominated.
Thompson returned to Miami and boom, showed the power that he had at Westminster Christian, hitting 19 homers, which led the NCAA. While he was the top hitter in the country, his injury concerns made him fall in the draft to the fourth round and sign with the Mets for an underslot $425,000 (Slot $474,800).
However, Thompson didn’t carry that momentum into his pro career at Short Season-A Brooklyn, with a lackluster .218/.268/.320 year with 14 extra base hits (10 doubles, a triple, three homers). Thompson didn’t really open many eyes to start at third base, but more than made up for it with an excellent sophomore season in the Minor Leagues. Starting out at Full Season-A Columbia, Thompson started out the year with some excellent play, hitting .294/.344/.474 with 29 extra base hits in 61 games. These 29 extra base hits included five homers and 22 doubles.
Thompson was promoted to Hi-A St. Lucie for a game at the end of June, and then for good on July 6th. While up in St. Lucie, Thompson batted .265/.321/.412 with 18 extra base hits, including 6 homers in 55 games. Over the course of 116 games, Thompson led the Mets Minor League Organization with 90 runs batted in, and won the Columbia Sterling Award.
Thompson can put up a power display while in batting practice, featuring plus power (30+ HR), and has power to all fields with ease. He can tap into it easily. The question is whether or not he’s going to be able to hit, as he doesn’t have very quick bat speed, so he’ll have issues catching up to premium velocity. Nonetheless, he makes a decent amount of contact for a player who hits for power, and doesn’t strike out at a high clip, and has a career strikeout percentage under 20%. While he doesn’t strike out much, he doesn’t walk much either, walking at a 5.5% rate in A-ball and 6.7 in Hi-A. If he doesn’t hit for a high average but still has power, he’s going to need to walk a little bit more.
Furthermore, Thompson’s defensive profile is murky. He’s a below-average runner and is likely limited to the corner infield positions or outfield positions, but the Mets have never had him in the outfield. Thompson’s actions in the infield are good, getting good jumps and featuring excellent hands at the hot corner. The issue making his positional future unclear at third is the arm. To throw across the diamond to first, a third baseman needs an above-average or plus arm. Due to all the shoulder injuries Thompson has had, he only has fringe-average arm strength, making him relatively stretched at third.
This puts his potential in question at the position despite being able to fit there in almost every other way. Thompson figures to join the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies, and likely find a power boost being out of the tough Pitcher’s League in High-A. Look for him to continue to rise and create intrigue.
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