- Full name Mat Thompson
- Profile Throws: R
Organization Prospect Rankings
Thompson doesn't have the raw arm strength of the pitchers ahead of him on the list, but he has the stuff and intangibles to climb the ladder to Fenway Park. He never lost a game in high school and as a second-rounder in 1999 he was the highest Idaho draft pick since Boston took Mike Garman third overall in 1967. After two seasons in the Gulf Coast League, Thompson made a successful transition to low Class A in 2001. His best pitch is an 89-92 mph sinker that gets him grounders. He commands it very well, keeping it down in the strike zone. His changeup really improved last year, but his curveball still needs work. He slows down his arm action and changes his delivery when he throws the curve, tipping off hitters and also hurting its consistency. Thompson faded late in his first year in full-season ball and missed a start with a sore back, so he'll need to get stronger as he climbs to high Class A in 2002.
After a high school career in which he never lost a game, Thompson became the highest draft pick out of Idaho since the Red Sox took righthander Mike Garman with the third overall pick in 1967. Boston selected Thompson in the second round in 1999. He's still very raw (which is to be expected considering his amateur background) and signed at age 17, so he'll need some time to develop. His best pitch is a 91-92 mph sinker that induces plenty of ground balls. His curveball has potential but lacks consistency, and his changeup is in the rudimentary stages. Thompson throws strikes but almost to a fault, as Gulf Coast League hitters batted .280 against him in 2000. He'll need to improve his command within the strike zone as he moves up the system. The Red Sox have been very cautious with Thompson, limiting him to the GCL in his first two years as a pro. If they remain so, he could spend 2001 at short-season Lowell.