Frisco right-hander Jake Thompson’s slider remains his go-to pitch. But he didn’t spend a lot of time throwing it during minor league spring training.
Most of the time he was working on improving his changeup, a pitch he seldom used a year ago.
“I can throw it for strikes when I want to now,” said Thompson, who was drafted by the Tigers in the second round of the 2012 first-year player draft. “Last year, I hardly threw it, and when I did I didn’t know where it was going.”
Thompson, who considered attending TCU before signing with Detroit, came to the Rangers last July as part of the Joakim Soria trade.
Thompson, who went to Rockwall-Heath High School, was happy to be coming home to Texas but a little leery of walking into a Frisco clubhouse full of strangers.
“It was strange. I’d never done it before, so walking into a clubhouse full of brand new people you’d never met before is kind of tough. But they made it easy and it was fine to be able to come back home and play,” he said. “Being able to sleep in my own bed. And now I know all these guys, it makes it a whole lot better.”
Thompson allowed two earned runs on five hits, including two solo homers, in four innings in his first start this season for Double A Frisco. He struck out three and walked one. On Friday, he pitched six scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out four.
He’s hoping to incorporate the changeup to go along with his low-90s fastball and excellent slider. He struggles with fastball command at times and is learning when to use his changeup most effectively against batters.
“In a go-to situation and I need somebody to swing and miss, I’m still going to go with a slider,” he said. This spring I only threw 10 sliders total working on my other pitches, but it’s still my go-to pitch.”
Lamb in like a lion
Frisco left-hander Will Lamb is off to a hot start. He has eight strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of relief to increase his strikeout rate to 10.0 per nine innings and lower his ERA to 1.19 in 29 career Double A appearances.
Jared Hoying has eight hits in Triple A Round Rock’s first seven games. Not bad, for an acceptable .276 batting average. Half of his hits, however, are triples. Add a double to the mix and it gives Hoying a .586 slugging percentage.
Frisco infielder Tyler Pastornicky, who was signed as a free agent after being released by the Braves in late March, reached safely in the RoughRiders’ first six games before being ejected after a first-inning strikeout Thursday night. He thought he checked his swing; the umpire thought otherwise. He leads the minors with four hit-by-pitches and was batting .400 through the first eight games with a .500 on-base percentage.
High A heroes
Ryan Cordell and Evan Van Hoosier both came out of the gate fast for High A High Desert. Cordell, an 11th-round draft choice in 2013, is hitting .421 with six extra-base hits in nine games. Van Hoosier, 21, an eighth-round selection in 2013, is hitting .324 with four extra-base hits. In a two-game span last week Cordell, 23, collected six hits, including two homers, with five runs scored and five RBIs.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760