Thompson dominates in playoff start for Double-A Reading

Phillies No. 2 prospect allows one run in seven innings in Eastern League championship series

Thompson dominates in playoff start for Double-A Reading

Double-A Reading moved to within one game of claiming the Eastern League title Thursday, dispatching Bowie, 9-3, in Game 3 of the best-of-five championship series.

A slew of Phillies top prospects contributed in the win, as starting pitcher Jake Thompson took care of business on the mound while outfielder Nick Williams, shortstop J.P. Crawford and catcher Andrew Knapp supported his effort with strong performances at the plate.

Fresh off the best start of his career -- a three-hit shutout against Binghamton in the Eastern League semifinals -- Thompson, the Phillies' No. 2 prospect (No. 55 overall), picked up the win with seven innings of one-run ball, carrying a no-hit bid into the fifth inning before surrendering a single to Garabez Rosa to open the frame. The 21-year-old right-hander scattered four hits and three walks in the outing and struck out five, throwing 65 of his 97 pitches for strikes.

Thompson has dealt for the Fightin Phils since coming over from Texas in the Cole Hamels blockbuster, going 7-1 with a 1.48 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 47/16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 61 innings spanning nine starts (including the postseason). During the regular season, the 2012 second-rounder was 11-7 with a 3.73 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 42 walks (2.9 BB/9) and 112 strikeouts (7.6 K/9) in 132 2/3 innings (24 starts) between Double-A Frisco and Reading.

No. 1 prospect (No. 5 overall) Crawford got the scoring started with a sacrifice fly in the third inning and finished the game 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk. The 20-year-old shortstop has now hit safely in all six Eastern League playoff games, and he's batting .476 (10-for-21) with six runs in that span.

Crawford's prospect stock continued to rise this season thanks to another impressive showing at a pair of advanced levels. Specifically, the 2013 first-rounder posted a .288/.380/.414 batting line with six home runs, 35 extra-base hits and 68 runs scored in 107 regular-season games between Class A Advanced Clearwater and Reading. He also stole 12 bases in 16 attempts and accrued more walks (63) than strikeouts (54).

No. 3 prospect (No. 59 overall) Williams -- acquired from Texas along with Thompson in the Hamels deal -- also had a big game for the Fightin Phils, going 2-for-6 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBIs. The left-handed-hitting outfielder connected on a solo shot to open the fifth inning -- his third home run of the postseason -- and he also delivered an RBI single in his next trip to the plate as part of Reading's five-run sixth inning.

The 22-year-old took a huge step forward this season during his first extended stay in Double-A, batting .303/.354/.491 with 17 home runs, 26 doubles, six triples and 55 RBIs over 119 regular-season games between Frisco and Reading. At the root of Williams' success was a vastly improved strikeout rate, as he fanned just 18.8 percent of the time this season after posting a 28.8-percent whiff rate in 2014.

No. 17 prospect Knapp also had a hand in Reading's victory, hitting a double in four at-bats while driving in a pair of runs to improve his series' RBI total to five. The 23-year-old, switch-hitting catcher quietly enjoyed a breakthrough campaign, batting .308/.385/.491 with 13 homers, 35 doubles and 84 RBIs in 118 games between Clearwater and Reading. The California product is batting .261 with an .812 OPS in the postseason.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.