Twins executive Wayne Krivsky traded for Daryl Thompson once. Now he’ll finally have a chance to watch Thompson play.
Back in 2006 Krivsky was the General Manager of the Reds, and he pulled the trigger on a massive trade that involved (among others), Thompson, Felipe Lopez, and Brendan Harris. Unfortunately, Krivsky was ousted as Cincinnati GM just a few months before Thompson made his Major League debut.
But now both are with the Minnesota organization: Krivsky as an assistant to Terry Ryan and Thompson as a non-roster pitcher with an invitation to Spring Training. Thompson, a six foot tall, 205 pound right-hander out of La Plata, MD, will wear jersey number 68 in camp.
Thompson has shown some promise in his minor league career, but injuries have delayed his rise to the MLB level. The Expos selected him in the eighth round of the 2003 draft. After some up and down seasons in the Expo/National system, Thompson was putting together a solid 2005 – and then he tore his labrum. That injury cost him the rest of 2005 and a chunk of 2006. After the trade to the Reds, Thompson rose quickly. He pitched at five different levels in 2008 (Rookie League, A Ball, AA, AAA, and MLB). In the minors, he had a 2.70 combined ERA, an 8-4 record, and 99 strikeouts in 126 innings. In the Majors, he had a 6.91 ERA in three starts. The 22 year old looked to have a bright future ahead of him. Unfortunately, more shoulder problems limited him to 22 minor league starts in 2009 and 2010. 2011 was a sort of bounceback season; Thompson made 24 starts between AA and AAA, and he struck out a respectable 8.1 batters per nine innings, but his 4-8 record and 4.26 ERA were less than impressive.
If you want a little insight into Thompson’s personality, check out this interview he did with Baseball Prospectus four years ago, not long before he broke into the Majors for the first time. One of the highlights: Thompson revealed that he signed with the Expos rather than pitching in college because “school wasn’t [his] thing.” That should make him a nice contrast with Kevin Slowey, who scored a 1420 on his SAT test and often seemed to rub certain people the wrong way with his tendency to use big words (at least, that’s the story I’ve heard, so I’ll run with it).
Thompson’s pitching arsenal doesn’t contrast so starkly with Slowey. According to this scouting report, which was written before Thompson’s last injury, he often throws his fastball in the 92 to 94 mph range, though at times he gets bogged down at a more Slowey-esque 89-91. He also boasts a curve, a slider, and a changeup. And like Slowey, Thompson is mostly a fly ball pitcher. He’ll need to find ways to make batters miss if he is going to make it to the Twins. There is some hope he might be able to do that, though, as he struck out more than a batter per inning at AA in 2010.
If healthy, Thompson has to be considered a strong candidate to pitch in Rochester’s rotation. His 2011 AAA numbers were better than pretty much any starter the Twins’ AAA affiliate had last season. Like any AAA starter, Thompson would be an option to fill in for the Twins for a few innings if a starter is injured.
We’ve written about almost all of the 25 non-roster invitees in Twins camp, with juts a few more profiles remaining. Check back with Puckett’s Pond this week to read them. You can read the previous editions here.