Profile: 6'3" - 195lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 20
• Hit: 35-45
• Power: 50-70
• Eye: 30-40
• Range: 50-55
• Hands: 55-65
• Arm: 65-65
• Run: 50-55
Trayce was drafted in the second round of the 2009 draft out of high school and received a 625k bonus. He signed in time to get some at-bats in the Rookie League but unfortunately struggled off the bat and never got going. A pitch to the hand shattered his right thumb and he ended up missing the rest of the year.
Thomson has impressive raw power and a strong work ethic, but lacks the feel for hitting at the professional level. While he loads and releases his swing well, he lets his hands get extended and that lengthens his swing and makes him susceptible to breaking balls. Even in the Rookie Leagues, pitchers have had an easy time getting him to chase pitches outside of the zone which has led to very high strikeout totals throughout his professional career. He does do a good job of not over-extending on his stride and stays over his center of gravity while hitting of his back leg and that helps him generate his power.
Defensively his range and arm both rate as average and his arm might rate just a tick above. He's played center field almost exclusively throughout his Minor League career and his speed and range are both probably right around average, his arm maybe a tick above average. Eventually my guess is that he'll have to move to a corner spot since his range really isn't ideal for center. We'll have to wait and see how he develops though.
2009 was a lost season for Thompson and I think we should treat it as such. The said, his 2010 wasn't anything too impressive either. Actually, I was surprised to see the White Sox move him up to A ball at all, I certainly don't know what the harm could've been in holding him in Rookie Ball for one more season. As we can see, at this point Thompson has very serious issues with contact, striking out at an amazing 34.8% of his at-bats - it's a massive issue. He does see some benefit from taking some walks, which allowed him to tip-toe his way to a .300 OBP last year. But to ever reach the Majors he's going to need to make significant improvements to his strikeout and walk rates.
The positive that we can take away, is that he did hit eight homeruns and posted an very good .205 ISO last year, which points out that his power is still there, regardless of all of the other flaws in his offensive game. It's going to take a lot of work but if he can make a 10% improvement in his strikeout rate and improve his walk rate to the point where it's consistently in the double digits, he could make it.
Like I said it's going to take a lot of work, and the odds are against him, but IF he can make significant improvements to his strikeout and walk rates, he could turn into a Chris Young type of hitter (.240/.320/.440), although he's unlikely to stick in center.
Corey Ettinger is a proud contributor to both 612Sports.net, 312Sports.com, and 313sports.com. He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus.