Five bold Chicago White Sox predictions for September
Prediction Four: Trayce Thompson Will Be September’s MVP
Aug 22, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Chicago White Sox right fielder Trayce Thompson (28) points to the crowd after hitting a solo home run in the second inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
As referenced in the intro slide, Thompson has been a stud thus far for the Chicago White Sox but hasn’t received all that much playing time. I expect that to change in the coming weeks and not because of my petition for the White Sox to do so. (Although feel free to sign it if you wish).
In 27 at-bats (yes, this is an extremely small sample size), Trayce Thompson has slashed .519/.522/.963 with a 1.515 OPS. .963 slugging percentage, are you kidding me? That’s because he’s hit four doubles, a triple, and two home runs in that short amount of playing time. That production is like Josh Phegley‘s hot start in 2013 on steroids.
Ventura’s main argument for not playing Trayce Thompson consistently has been his inherent susceptibility to right-handed pitching. In seven at-bats versus right-handers (A grossly small sample size) he has an .804 OPS, which disproves that point, but his minor league stats do suggest a platoon-split.
You’d think it would be in the White Sox best interest to see if he can hold his own against righties, in an attempt to explore if he has the potential to be an MLB regular in 2016.
At the very least it could be an audition so he could potentially be used as trade bait for an impact third baseman. Tyler Saladino has gold-glove defense, but honestly this is a power position the White Sox need to fill this offseason.
If the White Sox officially fall out of contention, to the point that Kenny Williams can’t say a hot streak would save them with a straight face, then there’s no reason Thompson’s playing time shouldn’t be prioritized over Adam LaRoche‘s in the final weeks.
I expect him to get continued reps against lefties, and assume he’ll continue to mash against southpaws.
Usually the pattern with rookies is that they either struggle mightily out of the gate (A la Carlos Sanchez), or are scalding hot and then get exploited when the scouting reports surface (We’ve seen this happen with Joc Pederson in 2015).
Thompson seems to fall into the “scalding hot” category, and with only a few weeks to play, I don’t think pitchers will find the answer to his bat soon enough to cool him off.
Even if he struggles a bit against righties in an extended starting role in September, I still think his numbers will come out video-game like when the season closes.
Did I mention that Thompson has plus speed and defense?
I think it’s safe to say we’ll see Thompson swipe a couple bags this month. He had eleven steals at Triple-A this season.
With the glove, Thompson could make a pair of web gems, which should just add to his resume.
Overall, if he gets the consistent playing time he deserves, Thompson will continue to look like a superstar in September and be the team MVP. Here’s to hoping the league never adjusts.
Next: Winning baseball in September?