Raising Questions

Does Jake Thompson have a future in Philly?

Things didn’t go well for Jake Thompson the last time he wore a Phillies uniform. Coming off five scoreless innings in his start against the Braves on July 28, Thompson only made it two innings before getting lit up by the Angels on Aug. 2. He gave up five extra base hits, including three home runs, for seven runs in the third inning. His finished line was five innings pitched, seven runs, nine hits, one walk and two strikeouts.

Bad news for Thompson, who is fighting for a top spot on Phils’ pitching-heavy depth chart. In five appearances this season (two starts), the 23-year-old right-hander has given up 12 runs (7 earned), 20 hits, and four home runs. Over the last two seasons, Thompson is 4-7 with a 5.37 ERA and 1.573 WHIP in 68.2 innings. He was optioned back to Lehigh Valley after his latest rough outing (where he’s not been much better: 5.34 ERA, 84 K, 46 BB).

Good news for Thompson is that the pitchers he’s competing against haven’t performed much better. Other than Aaron Nola, the Phillies’ young pitchers have been a disappointment. Going into this season, the team’s rotation and pitching depth was seen as one of the few bright spots but this year has been anything but, especially in the first half.

Phillies starters have a 4.75 ERA and are 21st in the league in batting average against, with opponents’ batting .267. Perhaps their biggest problem has been longevity. They are 22nd in quality starts with 50 and 28th in the league in innings pitched with 1080.2.

And for now, at least two spots in the rotation are still wide open.

Like most aspects of this Phillies, it’s tough to say whether the front office sees Thompson as part of their future. Nola is very likely part of it. Despite their up and down seasons, Vince Velasquez and Eickoff are most likely to have a spot in the rotation going forward.

After that, it’s anybody’s guess. Ben Lively showed some promise during his seven-game stint in the beginning of the summer and had a promising start Sunday. Zach Eflin started the season well but ran into some trouble at the end of May, and he hasn’t been consistent in his return to the rotation. Nick Pivetta is still a question mark. Tom Eshelman is waiting to get his shot. And you can’t forget Mark Appel, who might never get it together long enough to crack the major league roster.

One would think with September callups Thompson will get at least a few more chances to prove his worth down the stretch. He’ll also get a good look next spring.

That is if Klentak doesn’t trade them all. It’s anybody’s guess.

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