The Chicago White Sox don’t often pluck preps in the early rounds under Nick Hostetler, but they broke from tradition late on Monday night and plucked Texan high school righty Matthew Thompson with their second round pick.
Here’s a deep dive into the newest arm in the White Sox system.
Cypress Ranch H.S. (Cypress, Texas)
Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
Baseball America 49
Matthew Thompson has a relatively slender frame (6´3´´, 184 pounds), but with his long arms, certainly has plenty of physical projection. His fastball currently tops out at 96 mph according to PerfectGame, but typically runs in the low-to-mid 90s. He possesses an easy, fluid delivery, throws from a high three-quarter slot with electric arm speed which provides a bit of deception to an otherwise straight fastball, and shows great feel to spin the baseball.
Thompson throws a low-80s slider that has hard, late break and two-plane action that routinely draws whiffs and causes batters to expand the zone. He also showed some feel for a solid, 76-79 mph curveball with 11-to-5 break, according to Baseball America. Many scouts consider the curveball his best pitch thanks to its tight spin, good power and depth, and his ability to throw it for strikes. The curveball is a knee-buckler and is especially devastating to right-handed batters. MLB Pipeline grades his fastball at 60, curveball at 55 and changeup at 50. His changeup is still in the rudimentary stage, as he really hasn’t had to throw it much against the lesser prep competition.
Thompson has solid command, with 50 grade from MLB. There’s a lot to like here, and there’s reason to believe his heater can increase a couple of ticks; it wouldn’t be surprising to see him develop a two-seam fastball to add extra movement. Thompson is certainly smart enough to figure it out. In order to sign with the White Sox, he would have to eschew his verbal commitment to nearby Texas A&M. His teammate, J.J. Goss, was selected by the Rays with the 36th overall pick.
Here’s a video of Thompson at the Perfect Game National Showcase, courtesy of 2080 Baseball: