With the 131st overall selection, the Red Sox picked Jake Thompson, a right-handed pitcher out of Oregon State University.
Here, Boston selected their second college pitcher of this 2017 draft, nabbing one of the top-100 draft prospects according to both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline. The former had the righty ranked 83rd while the former had him coming in at 71. Thompson is a little bit older than your typical college junior, currently pitching in his age-22 season. He was redshirted prior to his freshman year, then missed all of 2015 with a back injury.
He has come back strong since then, looking decent in his sophomore year (his first year actually pitching at the college level) and putting up big numbers in 2017. This past year, the righty pitched to a 1.52 ERA in 118 1⁄3 innings of work coming over 18 appearances, 17 of which were starts. In that time, he struck out 113 batters while walking only 36. That performance was enough to rank him second in the Pac-12 in ERA.
Thompson works off his fastball, and that’s proven to bring success. The righty, who stands at 6’2” and weighs 205 pounds, works in the mid-90s and has reportedly peaked at 98 mph. It is his best pitch, and the arm strength even got him drafted out of high school by the Cubs. The secondaries haven’t always been there for Thompson, though they are reportedly coming around. His best secondary is his slider, which has flashes above-average at times this year. He also features a changeup that has been fringy, but it’s come around as he’s gotten older.
The biggest question mark about Thompson prior to this season was his command, but he’s shown much more refined control in 2017. Much of that is thanks to a simplified delivery that he debuted this season. Baseball America compared his new delivery to that of David Price thanks to the simplified leg kick. There is an expectation that Thompson could sign under slot given his age.