Jake Thompson is one of two prospects the Detroit Tigers sent to the Texas Rangers for closer Joakim Soria, per Fox Sports 1's Jon Morosi:
Tigers and Rangers have trade agreement in place: Joakim Soria for Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel, source confirms @KyleBogie report.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 24, 2014
The right-handed starting pitcher is listed as the third-best prospect in the Tigers' system, according to MLB.com. Before the season, Baseball Prospectus' Jason Parks (subscription required) ranked Thompson fourth for Detroit, behind Nick Castellanos, Jonathon Crawford and James McCann.
Of Thompson's strengths, Parks wrote:
Big, physical frame; delivery and arm work well; fastball works 89-92; touches higher; some late arm-side wiggle; slider is money pitch; already above average, thrown with velocity and tilt; shows some feel for promising changeup.
He sees the 20-year-old as a No. 5 starter who could blossom into a No. 3-level starter.
Jordon Gorosh, who covers the Tigers' minor-league prospects for Baseball Prospectus and Bless You Boys, analyzed Thompson's ability in the Detroit Free Press earlier on Wednesday before the trade was reported:
In terms of his big-league prospects, Thompson might end up getting a cup of coffee in the 2015 campaign, although that's certainly dependent on the Tigers’ rotation needs and his success in the high minors. He needs to continue to work on the change-up and fastball command and not being so slider-dependent when he gets into trouble. The slider is the Texan's comfort blanket, and the organization is trying to limit the usage of that particular pitch.
Still a year or two away from the big leagues, Thompson isn't going to provide any help for the Tigers as they look to make the playoffs and beyond in 2014. Soria, on the other hand, addresses one of the team's biggest issues: the bullpen.
Still, Josh Mansour of the Detroit Free Press was one of the critics who argued that the Tigers gave up too much in order to acquire the veteran closer:
If the report that the Tigers are about to acquire Joakim Soria for Cory Knebel and Jake Thompson is true, I think the Tigers overpaid.— Josh Mansour (@joshmansour) July 24, 2014
On the other side of the spectrum, ESPN's Jim Bowden praised the Rangers for getting back prospects as talented as Thompson and Corey Knebel:
Clearly a sellers market as Rangers do great in getting both Thompson and Knebel in Soria deal #ESPN— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) July 24, 2014
Thompson has spent time in 2014 in High-A and Double-A ball, making a combined 17 starts and posting a 6-4 record. He's stuck out 81 batters in 89 innings pitched. He was named to the United States team for the 2014 Futures Game, earning the win after pitching 0.2 scoreless innings.
This deal obviously has the potential to blow up in the Tigers' faces. Although Thompson and Knebel aren't can't-miss top-10 prospects, they could become solid back-of-the-rotation starting pitchers. Knebel also has the possibility of stepping into a late-inning/closer role down the line.
If Soria helps Detroit win a World Series, though, nobody will be complaining about how much the Tigers gave up.