White Sox: Trayce Thompson
Outfielders Keenyn Walker and Trayce Thompson were among those reassigned to minor-league camp. Also reassigned were outfielder Stefan Gartrell, right-hander Erik Johnson, infielder Seth Loman, infielder Marcus Semien and left-hander Scott Snodgress.
Right-hander Simon Castro and left-hander Santos Rodriguez were optioned to Triple-A Charlotte, while right-hander Nestor Molina was optioned to Double-A Birmingham.
Walker, the 47th overall pick in the 2011, managed to help his cause with a triple and double among his five Cactus League hits, while showing some of the speed that helped him to 56 steals at two separate minor league stops last season. He did strike out eight times in 20 at-bats, though.
Thompson struggled in his short time with the big club. The second-round pick in 2009 went hitless over 14 at-bats, but did manage to walk four times and score a pair of runs. Thompson, who turns 22 on Friday, has played just 20 games over the Single-A level, though, and remains highly regarded in the system.
Semien helped raise his stock with five hits over 11 at-bats in the Cactus League, including a home run and four RBIs. The sixth-round pick out of Cal has yet to play above the Single-A level.
All players involved in Monday's moves remain eligible to play for the White Sox in Cactus League games if needed.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The death Monday of Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss even had an impact in the Chicago White Sox clubhouse.
One of the top prospects in the White Sox organization, outfielder Trayce Thompson, essentially has Lakers blood running through him. His father Mychal Thompson played 4½ seasons with the Lakers, winning two championships in the franchise’s “Showtime” era.
The White Sox not only named Daryl Boston the team’s new first-base coach, he will also coach the outfielders. Those duties were previously held by Harold Baines, who will now serve as the assistant hitting coach to Jeff Manto.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Trayce Thompson stands a few years from reaching the big leagues and that’s just fine with him. He’s still quite enthused about being in his first spring training. And it hasn’t kept the 21-year-old outfielder with great athletic bloodlines from wanting to prove to the Chicago White Sox brass that he has what it takes to make it at this level.
Tony Farlow/AP ImagesTrayce Thompson's power could make him a breakout player in the Sox's system this coming season.
“If it’s tomorrow, if it’s two years, wherever they send me I’m going to play hard, give 100 percent and that’s the way I was brought up by my dad,” Thompson said. “I just want to perform the way I know I can. Last year was a little bit streaky for me. I know I can do a lot better. As far as the next step, we’ll see.”
Thompson’s dad is former NBA player Mychal Thompson, who spent 12 seasons playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. Trayce’s older brother, Klay, plays for the Golden State Warriors, while his oldest brother, Mychel, plays in the NBA D-League.
As Trayce Thompson noted, he had his ups and downs in his first full season of professional baseball. He hit .241 with 24 home runs, 87 RBIs and 172 strikeouts in Single-A Kannapolis last season, after missing the majority of the 2010 season with a fractured right thumb. A second-round pick in the 2009 draft, Thompson was ranked the White Sox’s top sleeper prospect, according to ESPN Insider Keith Law.
Thompson spent the offseason working out at the Craig Grebeck-owned Baseball Performance Academy in southern California. Thompson’s agent set up the arrangement, and the White Sox's prospect said he spent nearly every day working with St. Louis Cardinals hitting coach Mark McGwire and Cardinals utility man Skip Schumaker. Thompson said he felt good heading into last season but soon lost his plate approach once the season was under way.
“It’s more so my approach than my swing,” Thompson said. “No one has the perfect swing and to the day I retire I’m going to continue to work on it and continue to tweak things. It’s more so my approach and developing a better approach, and I got time to spend this past offseason with a lot of big leaguers just picking their brains and even picking the brains of some of the guys out here the last couple of days. I was talking to [Brent] Lillibridge a long time just about what he thinks about at the plate. I asked for veteran advice from guys who are in the big leagues.”
“I just always had a deeper love for baseball than any other sport,” Thompson said.
A former high school basketball state champion, he still keeps up on hoops and tries to watch all of his brother Klay’s games.
“It’s nerve-racking going to see him play,” Thompson said. “On Christmas Day I went to see him play the Clippers and that was nerve-racking. Then I saw him play against the Lakers and that was really nerve-racking because he was going against Kobe [Bryant]. So it’s great to see him play. I always knew he could do it. And same with my oldest brother, I know he can do it.”
And it could be only a matter of time before Trayce Thompson, ranked the organization’s top power hitter by Baseball America, reaches the big leagues, too.