Editor's Note: This is the ninth in a series of looks at the men who suited up for the 2016 Philadelphia Phillies. Dailier Hinojosa was the last player profiled.
I was very excited about Jake Thompson headed into the season. I thought he could be a guy who would pay off big time in the Cole Hamels trade. Maybe he wouldn't be an ace, but I figured he would be a No. 3 starter or reliable bullpen arm.
Then I saw him scuffle in a Triple-A start against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
As the season moved on, the 22-year-old right-hander tabbed as the 34th best prospect in baseball by Baseball Prospectus began to flourish. He finished his AAA season with an 11-5 mark and a 2.50 ERA. He struck out just 6 batters per nine innings, but didn't give up many home runs and was pretty stingy with the free passes, too.
Then he made his first Big League start on Aug. 6.
He got rocked, giving up six earned runs in under five innings pitched.
His next three starts weren't better. He finished his Aug. 23 assignment with a 9.78 ERA, having allowed 22 hits, 13 walks and five home runs in 19.1 innings pitched.
Things got markedly better from then on.
After that start, Thompson started six games, pitched 34.1 innings, struck out 19, had a 3.41 ERA.
Those are numbers you can hang your hat on as a rookie.
Thompson is still an exciting prospect. One who will likely start the season in the minor leagues. But, whether it's an injury or a trade that frees up a roster space, Thompson will likely take the the hill for the Phillies at some point this season.
He'll be a 23-year-old with a strong arm and a nice pedigree. It's good to have him around and he's clearly a reason to think this team will soon contend for a playoff spot again.
2016 grade: C+
Will we see him again in 2017: Unless something tragic or bizarrely wonderful happens, we will see him on the mound in the Phillies pinstripes in 2017.