Thompson returns to roots after trade

Prospect has been part of two big deals within 12 months

Thompson returns to roots after trade

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jake Thompson has learned a few things in the past 20 months.

One of those things: forget about the trades.

The Tigers selected Thompson in the second round of the 2012 Draft, but they sent him to the Rangers on July 23, 2014, as part of the Joakim Soria trade. The Rangers shipped him to the Phillies on July 31 in a package that landed Cole Hamels and Jake Diekman.

That's two big trades in 12 months.

"Cole Hamels is Cole Hamels, he's undeniably good," Thompson said Thursday after he allowed three hits and one unearned run in two innings in a 3-2 loss to the Astros at Bright House Field. "For me, I don't try to get super wrapped up in it."

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Thompson, 22, is ranked the club's No. 2 prospect and 55th overall by MLBPipeline.com. He is the most polished of the Phillies' pitching prospects, and the club is hopeful he will join Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff in the rotation in the future. But Thompson must continue to pitch well to make that happen, something he did following his arrival from Texas.

Thompson had not pitched particularly well following the Soria trade, at least by his standards. He had a 4.30 ERA in 24 appearances (23 starts) with Double-A Frisco.

"I was trying to do things I wasn't capable of," Thompson said. "I tried to overdo everything -- every fastball max [velocity] and not really utilizing all of the strengths of my game, like the movement on my fastball."

But Thompson returned to his roots following the Hamels deal. Thompson stopped trying to live up to the hype of a recently acquired top prospect.

Thompson strikes out Duffy

He went 5-1 with a 1.80 ERA in seven starts at Double-A Reading.

"It was a personal thing," Thompson said. "When I got traded the first time, I struggled a little bit and it frustrated me. This time, I said, 'I'm just going to go out there and try to get outs, I'm not going to try to drop the jaws on everybody in the stands. I'm going to try to go out there and be a good pitcher.' The last part of Reading, it really panned out for me, and it's something as my command gets a little better here, I'm going to keep doing that, keep getting ground balls, keep getting weak contact."

Thompson is expected to open the season at Triple-A with fellow pitching prospects Mark Appel and Zach Eflin. Both Appel and Eflin pitched Thursday. Appel allowed one hit, one run and four walks in two innings in a 13-4 victory over the Yankees in Tampa, Fla.. Eflin allowed one hit, one unearned run, two walks, one hit batter, one wild pitch and struck out one in two innings to the Phillies.

Eflin soaking up veterans' knowledge

Thompson walked in a run in the second after a two-out error by Phillies third baseman Taylor Featherston extended the inning.

"I'm still trying to grow as a pitcher," Thompson said. "There are still certain things I feel I need to improve on. This is my first time in big league camp, getting out there, feeling the competition, seeing some of those guys you've see play on TV and facing them. It's a really cool thing and I was excited to do it."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.