Mike Thompson has been a stellar part of the Mobile BayBears starting rotation this year but the numbers don’t lie and give a deeper understanding of his strengths and weaknesses.
Sweet Home Alabama: On the year, the right-handed starter is 5-6 with a 3.32 ERA. But you likely had no idea that 11 of his 17 starts have come at home where he has a 2.70 ERA in 70 innings of work while posting a 4.46 ERA in 38,1 innings on the road. His average against is .258 in those games, compared to the .298 that the opposition is swatting off him on the road. Despite pitching in nearly double the amount of innings and 109 more at bats, only two of his six homers allowed have come at home.
Switch-hitting: Thompson has been slightly better against those lining up opposite him – lefties. He has held left-handed batters to a .266 average against while righties are hitting .279 off him. And the sampling includes 192 at bats for lefties and 219 for righties.
My Pitching Coach Always Told Me: Never to lead off an inning with a walk – and Thompson has walked seven to lead off an inning. Fifteen of his 22 walks on the year, coincidentally, have come with the bases empty. The opposition is hitting .286 off him with no one on board which translates into plenty of baserunners.
But the true mark of excellence for a pitcher isn’t how many get on board, it is how many score. Thompson has limited the opposition to a .242 average with runners in scoring position (RISP) but that number jumps up to .302 with RISP and two outs.
Early On: Keeping your team in the game through the first three innings is one of the greatest gifts a pitcher can give his team. Getting a lead can oftentimes result in an eventual win.
Thompson has allowed four earned runs in the first inning through 17 starts and seven earned over the first two frames. The third, fourth and fifth innings, however, have not been so kind. Six runs have crossed the plate in the third and that number jumps to double-digits in each of the next two stanzas. He has given up ten and 11 runs in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively. In the 23.2 innings he has pitched beyond the fifth, six runs have crossed the dish and none in the eighth and ninth innings (2.2 IP).
At The Plate: Last year we made fun of Thompson for amassing one hit, a double in his first at bat of the year, before going 0-for-20 over the rest of the year. Thompson apparently took our jibes to heart. He is 3-for-27 so far this year – with two hits coming in one magical game on May 26. The result was a pinch hitting appearance on June 22 – and yes he made an out. Two of his hits have come with RISP and two outs – a .286 average in seven at bats in that situation.
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