LHP Aaron Thompson throws during 2009 Marlins Spring Training. PHOTO:RosePetal236

Pittsburgh Pirates Pick Up 2005 First Rounder Aaron Thompson


 

This week, the Pittsburgh Pirates claimed one of the first rounders from the insane 2005 draft.   The Bucs grabbed Aaron Thompson off the waiver wire from the Washington  Nationals.  The Pirates had some good things to say about the left-hander from Houston, Texas. 

“‘We have a number of good scouting reports over a handful of years, and those combined with some positive statistical indicators beyond the conventional ERA and won-loss record supported the claim. We believe we can positively impact his growth and development.’”–Neal Huntington

This is what Baseball America had this to say about Thompson who in 68 starts in AA has thrown 365 innings, given up 428 hits, with 10.6H/9, 3.6BB/9, and 6.2K/9 numbers:
The 2005 draft’s 22nd overall pick, Thompson signed for $1.225 million out of a Houston-area high school. The 22-year-old possessed the best changeup in the Marlins system, but that did not prevent him from moving slowly up the chain. In his repeat of Double-A this season, he was 5-9, 4.11 through 20 starts for Jacksonville. He struck out 75 and walked 43 over 114 innings. Thompson dealt with minor shoulder issues in 2008 that cost him two months of the season. In 16 starts with Double-A Carolina last season, he went 2-5, 5.62 with 53 strikeouts in 82 innings. He allowed 111 hits and walked 40.

Thompson throws a fastball in the 88-91 mph range to go along with a good slider, a serviceable curveball and the aforementioned change. He has a great pick-off move to first base, too. Thompson’s ability to keep the ball in the park (0.55 home runs per nine this season) and on the ground bodes well for his future. He has the ability to command all of his pitches, and improving his command will help him reach his ceiling as a back-end starter.   Baseball America

So Thompson has had some minor shoulder issues.  That scares me.  

What we like?  A great pick-off move and the ability to keep the ball in the yard. 

That sounds like a bullpen option waiting to happen for the Bucs.   But it definently wasn’t what the Nationals were thinking last year when Thompson was picked up. 

Thompson was acquired by the Nationals at the trade deadline in 2009.  The Washington Post said the Nats sent veteran 1B Nick Johnson to Florida while Johnson was taking batting practice at PNC Park.   Johnson was in the final months of a three-year, $16+ million dollar deal.

Of the three pitchers Washington acquired, Thompson is the most promising. Three of the Washington’s pro scouts recently watched Thompson, 22, who was 5-9 with a 4.11 ERA with Class AA Jacksonville. All, according to Rizzo, evaluated him as a future middle-of-the-rotation pitcher.   Washington Post

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