AFL Spotlight: Daryl Thompson

Of all the prospects Cincinnati has participating in the Arizona Fall League, none may be under more of a microscope than Daryl Thompson. You could say that title “belongs” to Devin Mesoraco, but I respectfully disagree.

The acquisition of Thompson wasn’t all that popular. Thompson was originally an eighth round selection of the Montreal Expos during the 2003 amateur draft. On July 13, 2006, Thompson was part of a deal that sent more than a few Reds fans screaming. The Reds received Thompson, Royce Clayton, Bill Bray, Brendan Harris and Gary Majewski in exchange for Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez and Ryan Wagner. The Reds needed bullpen help and Bray and Majewski were viewed as the keys.

We know the results from there. Sigh…

Here’s a peek at how Thompson has fared in the minors since his move to the Reds organization in 2006.

Year Lev W L ERA G IP H R ER BB SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
2006 Rk 0 0 2.57 5 14.0 10 4 4 4 16 1.000 6.4 0.6 2.6 10.3
2007 A 5 0 0.96 5 28.0 16 3 3 2 24 0.643 5.1 0.3 0.6 7.7
2007 A+ 9 5 3.77 22 105.0 106 51 44 31 97 1.305 9.1 1.6 2.7 8.3
2008 Rk 0 0 0.00 1 4.0 2 1 0 0 3 0.500 4.5 0.0 0.0 6.8
2008 A+ 0 2 6.89 3 15.2 20 12 12 7 7 1.723 11.5 1.1 4.0 4.0
2008 AA 3 2 1.76 10 61.1 44 19 12 14 56 0.946 6.5 0.3 2.1 8.2
2008 AAA 5 0 2.76 7 45.2 39 15 14 9 33 1.051 7.7 0.8 1.8 6.5
2009 Rk 0 0 27.00 1 0.2 2 3 2 2 1 6.000 27.0 0.0 27.0 13.5
2009 AAA 1 2 6.59 8 28.2 34 22 21 7 8 1.430 10.7 0.9 2.2 2.5
2010 Rk 1 0 2.45 3 11.0 10 3 3 2 17 1.091 8.2 0.8 1.6 13.9
2010 AA 0 5 3.71 12 51.0 38 25 21 11 52 0.961 6.7 0.5 1.9 9.2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/17/2010.

Thompson has endured injury. Well, more than one. In 2008, it was a strained shoulder. 2009 saw three DL stints with right elbow issues due to inflammation. Later that same year, Thompson had shoulder surgery to repair a frayed labrum. 2010 was no nicer to Thompson. Another DL stint with yet another shoulder strain, a bout with mono and a separate one the flu.

Before 2010, Reds fans were doubting the significance of Thompson. Justified doubt…to an extent. Injuries are becoming more commonplace, but those injuries are magnified when it deals with a young prospect with a ton of promise. After his MLB debut 2008 start, despite the results afterward and being demoted, Thompson instilled Reds fans with great promise. After all, that debut was in Yankee Stadium. Still, would that promise be fulfilled? That answer has yet to be seen.

The ever-growing question about Thompson is can he regain his “old stuff” and become the same pitcher that dazzled the Yankees in his first MLB start? There is a thought that Thompson can be that same guy. Courtesy of MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon in a piece on Thompson with a quote from Reds Minor League director Terry Reynolds on Thompson and the AFL.

“He wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think he had the potential and could regain his old form,” Reynolds said. “We look forward to seeing him in spring and getting 100 percent.”

That could be just a smokescreen, but why would the Reds invest the time in Thompson if they honestly didn’t feel the way Reynolds does? Simple. Thompson is on the minds of the Reds brass.

And there’s also a sense that Thompson was almost receiving a vote of confidence (not always a bad thing) from Reds GM Walt Jocketty.

“Pretty impressive,” Jocketty said. “With Daryl, it’s a matter of staying healthy enough to be able to perform for us.”

Thompson was named AFL Pitcher of the Week for Week 4. During his visit to Arizona, Thompson is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA. In 18 innings, he’s permitted 18 hits and 8 walks. He’s also struck out 16 batters. Hitters are at a .269 clip against him.

Seeing Thompson as an active participant in spring training would do wonders for the psyche of the Reds front office…and Thompson. Seeing him at no lower than Triple-A Louisville would soothe the minds even more.

Yes, health is THE priority at this point.

Update: Thompson has been added to the 40-man roster.

Tags: Arizona Fall League Baseball Cincinnati Reds Daryl Thompson Reds Prospects

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