What to expect out of Drew Thorpe's Major League debut tonight for the Chicago White Sox

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Drew Thorpe makes his much anticipated first big-league start for the Chicago White Sox tonight. The franchise's second-best pitching prospect was the top player the team got back from the San Diego Padres in the Dylan Cease trade during spring training.

Thorpe's debut provides a glimpse into the path the Sox must take to return to being a competitive team.

Thorpe was part of a promising starting rotation at Double-A Birmingham. That group includes the team's top pitching prospect, Noah Schultz, along with Jairo Iriate, the other pitching prospect the Sox got in the Cease deal. Pitching prospects that the Sox got in other trade deadline deals last year include Jake Eder and Ky Bush while Mason Adams might prove to be a value pick (13th round) with how he is throwing the ball.

Garrett Crochet is establishing himself as an ace. If the Sox do not trade him, the organization has plenty of young arms to build a competitive rotation around Crochet. Not only with the pitchers listed above, but also with Jonathan Cannon who is getting another shot to start in the majors this week. If Nick Nastrini can ever solve his command problems, the Sox might turn out to be a franchise that develops young pitching much like the Cleveland Guardians and Milwaukee Brewers have done.

Suddenly, there is thing called hope around the White Sox, especially if Thorpe pitches well.

What does Thorpe bring to the Chicago White Sox?

He possesses quite possibly the best changeup in the minors. Thorpe rode that pitch toward being named MLB Pipelines MiLB Pitcher of the Year last season. He is just on the cusp of being a top 50 prospect according to them as well.

That changeup and the way he deploys his various pitches put his floor as a back-of-the-rotation pitcher.

You might cringe seeing a prospect rated so high becoming nothing more than a No. 4 pitcher, but keep in mind that the Sox never spend on pitching. Also, if he is at least a quality fourth starting pitcher, that is something the White Sox can move forward with especially since it looks like Erick Fedde and Chris Flexen are likely to be traded.

That does not mean he cannot become a top pitcher in a rotation. Aaron Nola does not light up the radar gun and he has been darn good for the Philadelphia Phillies. Also, the scouting report on Thorpe's fastball which still hits the low 90's is he can locate well enough for it to not be rated below average. If the debate is between a decent starting pitcher and a great one, you know the Sox at least have a solid pitcher they can move forward with.

The value Thorpe has around baseball cannot be overlooked. The New York Yankees needed his promising talent to land Juan Soto. The Padres had to turn around and send him to the White Sox to get Cease. You do not just trade away a terrible prospect for great players.

Fingers crossed he does not have any nerves out on the mound. Getting lit up would add to the dark days this franchise keeps having, especially since Thorpe's potential is a signal of hopefully better days ahead.

This has been a terrible season and the Southside faithful needs some hope, especially after having to watch manager Pedro Grifol make terrible decisions that lead to the White Sox losing more games than they should.