Third Pitch Gives Yankees’ Drew Thorpe A New Dimension

Back when Drew Thorpe was playing high school baseball in Utah, he said he didn’t really talk to anybody about potentially being drafted.

What a difference a few years can make.

After a standout, three-season run at Cal Poly, the 22-year-old righthander was the Yankees’ second-round pick last year. Thorpe has taken quickly to pro ball at High-A Hudson Valley.

Thorpe said he was a little surprised to skip over Low-A after the Yankees shut him down last summer after drafting him. But those around him say his demeanor allowed him to adapt quickly to a higher level of competition.

“With (fellow 2022 draft picks) Spencer Jones and Chase Hampton up here, I think it was a good mix,” Hudson Valley manager Sergio Santos said. “It was the right move to challenge him, because he’s one of these guys who doesn’t seem fazed by any challenge you present to him. He welcomes it. 

“He has this inner confidence about him where he’s not afraid, he’s not timid and he’s ready to go out and compete.”

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Thorpe found early success in pro ball. He struck out 45 batters against 16 walks in his first 38 innings. He had a 3.55 ERA.

Thorpe credits his success to the development of his slider in college to go along with a plus-plus changeup and improving fastball that now sits between 92-94 mph.

“Just having that third pitch—I always had the changeup—so adding a third out pitch really helped,” Thorpe said. 

“I’d always been a command guy. I knew where the ball was going, could put it wherever I wanted to, and I always had the changeup with me, so I think adding that third strikeout pitch was really helpful last year.”

As a polished college starter, Thorpe has the potential to move quickly. But for now he remains focused on working with pitching coach Preston Claiborne to continue to fine-tune his offerings.

“I think that’s kind of the goal: just keep continuing to move up levels as fast as possible, but keep continuing to just get better,” Thorpe said.

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