Riley Thompson

Position: RHSP
Level: Class A
Affiliate: South Bend Cubs
League: Midwest League
Born: 07/09/1996 (Age: 23)
Height: 6'3''
Weight: 205
B/T: Left / Right
Acquired: 11th Rd., 2018 MLB First-Year Player Draft (CHC)

Prospect Spotlight

Thompson drew interest from pro scouts as a high school senior but hurt his elbow two weeks before the draft. He ultimately required Tommy John surgery, honoring his Louisville commitment and redshirting his true freshman season. Thompson always flashed intriguing stuff but had an up-and-down college career, so his strong pro debut in 2018 was a pleasant surprise. He pitched to a 2.84 ERA with as many strikeouts (25) as innings pitched (25.1) last summer in the Northwest League, displaying two potentially above-average pitches. The arrow is pointing up after a strong full-season debut in 2019. Thompson was named a mid-season all-star in the Midwest League after cutting down his walk rate and posting a 2.50 ERA across his first 11 starts at the level.

The fastball sits in the mid-90s, touching 98 mph at best. There’s some rigidity to his delivery that impacts the in-zone command, though his plus velocity gives him some flexibility as to where his fastball finishes over the plate. Thompson’s best secondary pitch is a hard curve, a big 12-to-6 downer that gets swinging strikes at its best. He will have to clean up some parts of his mechanics and develop a crude changeup in order to remain a starter at higher levels. The fastball/curveball combo would be impactful in a ‘pen role if durability or arsenal depth becomes a concern, though the way he has begun this season gives reason to be optimistic Thompson is a potential late-bloomer that’s figuring it out in the rotation.