Futures Market: Tracy Thorpe

Futures Market: Tracy Thorpe

Originally drafted in the 11th round of the 2000, Thorpe (12/15/80) began his playing career as a starting pitcher. His first two seasons were forgettable but he appeared to turn a corner in 2002 with a moderately successful season. But his success was short lived, as he suffered a shoulder injury (labrum tear in two places) late in the 2002 season. Thorpe returned from surgery ahead of schedule in 2003, but now in a bullpen role. Thorpe would be used in middle to setup roles for the next three seasons, advancing up the organizational ladder, yet at a higher age than most of his peers. He was anointed the closers role in 2006, his second season with AA New Hampshire.

Here’s a chart of some key stats from Tracy Thorpe’s first seven seasons in professional baseball.

Year

Hits per 9

HR per 9

BB per 9

K per 9

WHIP

2000 RK

9.57

1.03

5.81

5.13

1.71

2002 A

8.36

0.52

2.70

6.10

1.23

2003 A

10.30

1.39

6.12

5.85

1.82

2004 A+

5.92

0.76

4.55

8.04

1.16

2005 A+

8.39

1.05

2.62

8.65

1.22

2005 AA

7.30

2.19

4.14

8.76

1.27

2006 AA

5.34

0.65

4.69

10.02

1.11

As you can see, he has improved over the past couple of seasons, but much of this could be attributed to the younger talent that he is consistently playing against. One should also note the high walk rate throughout his career.

Recently Thorpe has been added to the Toronto Blue Jays 40 man roster. This would have to be seen as a move to solely retain his rights. If a player’s yearly minor league contract has been renewed six times, he becomes a six-year minor league free agent. To protect against this, clubs can promote a player to their 40 man roster, which eliminates their free-agent eligibility. This appears to be the case with Tracy.

Thorpe is currently taking part in the Arizona Fall League. His performance at this juncture has been disappointing (4.2 IP, 5 hits, 4 BB, 5K in 4 G), but with only approximately a third of the games played, it’s too early to draw any conclusions.

I would assume that Tracy will begin the 2007 season in AAA. At this level, his age (26) should be less of a factor. With a mid 90’s fastball, anything can happen here but it’s difficult to view Thorpe as traditional prospect. He is nearing the age of the accepted baseball peak (27), yet he may still have something to offer at the mlb level. Of course, he may be a man producing stats against inexperienced talent. Only time will tell. A strong AFL campaign can be used as a gauge but one would hope that he is in a major league uniform in the near future.

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has written for mopupduty.com since 2006. Follow Matthias on Twitter, Facebook and Google +