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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 8: Matthew Thompson

The headliner of an organizational shift toward welcoming prep arms, this righthander should see A-ball in 2021

Sean Williams/South Side Sox

Matthew Thompson

Right-Handed Starting Pitcher
6´3´´
195 pounds
Age: 20
SSS rank among all right-handed starting pitchers in the system: 4
2021 SSS Top Prospect Vote: 10
2020 SSHP Top Prospect Ranking: 10

Matthew Thompson, a graduate of Cypress Ranch High School in Houston, certainly dominated in his senior year.

Dominated, you say? Try this: He was 13-0 in 15 starts with a 0.87 ERA and 0.88 WHIP over 72 23 innings, allowing just 23 hits (.095 OBA) while fanning 124 (42.6%). The only real blemish against Thompson this year was his high walk total of 41 (14.1%). To sign an over-slot bonus with the White Sox after being selected in the second round, Thompson eschewed his verbal commitment to Texas A&M.

The White Sox are treading carefully with this young arm, and have thereby limited his work in his first pro year. In two starts totaling just two innings, Thompson relinquished two hits and no walks while fanning two — not much to go on.

Thompson was part of the alternate site training in Schaumburg last summer, making it probable that he starts 2021 in Kannapolis rather than doing extra rookie league work in Arizona.

Thompson’s fastball currently tops out at 96 mph according to MLB Pipeline, but typically runs in the low-to-mid 90s. There’s not much movement to it, however, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Thompson develop a two-seam fastball to complement it. He possesses an easy, fluid delivery, throws from a high three-quarter slot with electric arm speed that 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 Thompson’s 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 Thompson’s 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 his lesser prep competition.

Despite his high walk total in high school, Thompson has solid command for his age — graded 50 by MLB Pipeline.