Sox remain intrigued by OF Trayce Thompson’s potential
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter February 21, 2014 9:02PM
Chicago White Sox's Trayce Thompson runs home after a solo home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the seventh inning of a spring training baseball game on Thursday, March 29, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Updated: March 23, 2014 6:20AM
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Don’t forget about outfielder Trayce Thompson. Just because the fleet power hitter has descended in most top-five White Sox prospects lists (he’s still in most top 10s) doesn’t mean Thompson is falling out of favor in the organization.
“He has a chance to be a superstar,’’ Sox director of player development Nick Capra said. “He has all the tools. If things go right he’ll hit for average and hit some home runs, and he’s an above average defender in the outfield who throws the ball well. And he can steal a base. He does a lot of things.’’
A 2009 second-round draft pick, the 6-3, 215-pound Thompson, the son of former NBA veteran Mychal Thompson and the brother of the Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson started strong at Class AA Birmingham last season and seemed destined for a September call-up but had a terrible second half, batting .157 in July and .185 in August. He recovered with a strong postseason, however. His final 2013 numbers: .229, 15 homers, 73 RBI, 25 stolen bases over 135 games.
“I was doing well toward the end of June and I went in a slump for a series, I started to press and I thought about hits instead of just hitting the ball hard,’’ Thompson said. “It was me trying to do too much, which is the story of my career when I’m playing bad.’’
The learning curve in the minors involves dealing with the struggle and difficulty of the game.
“[But] I feel like the more you think about how hard it is the harder you make it on yourself — you almost have to trick yourself,’’ Thompson said, casting a glance around the Sox clubhouse at Camelback Ranch. “That’s why these guys are humble.’’
There are mechanical flaws that need attention, Capra said. Thompson likely will return to Birmingham with hopes of advancing to Class AAA Charlotte. If all goes well, a September call-up isn’t out of the question.
“I’m a big fan of Trayce,’’ Capra said. “You have to be with the tools he has. He can go and get ’em in center field. He makes plays look easy out there, on balls you don’t think he’ll get to.’’
“At some point in your career it’s time to turn those tools into production,’’ Thompson said. “I’m young in the scheme of things but it’s time to go.’’
NOTES: Right fielder Avisail Garcia had an ingrown toenail removed and will likely miss another day, and infielder Jeff Keppinger’s right shoulder that ailed him last year is limiting him somewhat.
◆ Right-hander Nate Jones (gluteus strain) has resumed activity playing catch and should be throwing off a mound soon.
◆ Left-hander John Danks continued to make good impressions in the first week of camp.
“Johnny looked good today,’’ manager Robin Ventura said.