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Takeaways From Tampa Bay Rays’ Winter Ball Results Part 4

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Sad to see Thompson’s season end the way it did. (Credit: Flickr user Nick Martinez)

Jake Thompson: There is still plenty of risk here

Thompson, the Rays’ second rounder from 2010, looked good in his conversion to relief in 2014, managing a 2.79 ERA and a 44-15 strikeout to walk ratio in 34 appearances and 51.2 innings pitched. He certainly wasn’t overpowering, striking out just 7.7 batters per 9 innings, but it wasn’t difficult to imagine him in the major leagues between his fastball reaching the mid-90’s and solid slider.

Thompson’s second Venezuelan Winter League appearance then prompted more excitement as he tossed four no-hit innings with 4 strikeouts and 5 groundouts. It was at least worth asking whether Thompson had broken through and would soon push for a spot in the Rays’ bullpen. Instead, Thompson went down with rotator cuff inflammation in his next start and pitched 1.1 more innings before the season was through.

The Rays may get something out of their former second rounder. That certainly is within the realm of possibility, especially given his stuff. However, between his middling command, lack of plus secondary pitch, and now some injury concerns, can we really say that Thompson is likely to make more than an appearance or two for the Rays?

Winter Ball represented the best of Jake Thompson and the worst of him in back-to-back starts. Now he will hope to continue moving past his issues as he returns to Triple-A Durham and deliver enough more exciting moments that he will have a chance.

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