After completing his season with the GCL Twins, Thorpe headed to Taichung, Taiwan for the 18U World Baseball Cup.
He only pitched in one game, but it was a great performance in a big game, going 5.2 innings, giving up 5 hits, no runs and striking out 8 to lead the Aussies to a 1-0 upset of the US team, which eventually went on to win the tournament.
He'll spend the next month at the Twins' Instructional League in Ft Myers.
This kid is 17. I'm curious who was on that US team. I know Kohl Stewart pitched for them. Anyone know who hte position players were?
Probably not too many names you've heard (yet):
Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan
XXVI IBAF 18U Baseball World Cup - USA
Thorpe was named the #7 prospect in the GCL by Baseball America.
The writeup contains some good new scouting tidbits.
1) He's now listed at 6'1", 214 lbs. He turns 18 in November, so he could easily still have some growth left in him.
2) His fastball was sitting between 88-93 in the GCL and he's touched 95. Not only that, but he adds deception with an explosive release that makes it look faster than it is and some good late movement.
3) His changeup is his most polished off-speed pitch. Badler calls it a potential plus pitch.
4) He's throwing both a curveball and a slider right now. Both have a lot of spin and downward action.
He was also named by John Sickels as the Twins #7(!) overall prospect. Lots of discussion and a link in this thread:
By the way 2wins87, you've done a fantastic job on this Adopt-A-Prospect thread. I really appreciate the consistent and far-reaching updates you've done.
Thanks, John. Thorpe is still pitching in the ABL this winter (or I guess summer in Australia), so I'll still have a few more updates.
He made his first start with the Melbourne Aces yesterday. Overall he pitched fairly well, giving up 2 runs on 7 hits and a walk in 5 innings. He struck out 3, but was chased from the game after giving up a home run and double to start the 6th. The Aces eventually rallied in the 9th inning to keep Thorpe from getting tagged with a loss.
Thorpe has now made two more starts for the Melbourne Aces.
On November 30 he started the second game of the Saturday double-header. It wasn't his sharpest outing, only making it through 3 and 2/3 innings while giving up 5 runs. Only one run was earned, as 4 scored in the second inning after a fielding error by the Aces left fielder, but Thorpe allowed 6 hits and an uncharacteristic 3 walks while only striking out 2, so it wasn't a good outing, and he was pulled with two outs in the 4th with runners on 2nd and 3rd.
His next start last Sunday, however, was brilliant. He went seven innings on an efficient 82 pitches, giving up only 1 hit (an infield hit) and no walks while striking out 8.
He's now gone a total of 15.2 innings in three starts in the ABL with a 13K/4BB and a 1.72 ERA and 4.14 RA/9.
Just a quick note that Thorpe was selected to play for Australia in the ABL All-Star game. The Aces page page says he will be the starter. This is a pretty great honor, especially for a kid that just recently turned 18.
He also made a start earlier today (or yesterday? timezones...), pitching very well again. The box is here.
Thanks again for posting these. My brother lives in Melbourne. I just let him know that a top Twins prospect is pitching there this offseason.
Thanks for the very intriguing updates.
Originally Posted by 2wins87
A few questions. 1 ) What is the level of baseball in the ABL? An 18-year-old dominating in AA ball means more than an 18 year old dominating a Rookie League.
2) At what point in his development do the Twins impose innings restrictions on Thorpe, or refuse to allow him to pitch in the ABL completely?
3) I see Luke Hughes and 3 other Twins prospects made the ABL All-Star team, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
1.) The level of play in the ABL is not real high, at least compared to the VWL, DSL or even PRWL. Most of the players are in the low minors. A few have had a little time in the big leagues.
Originally Posted by jokin
2.) The Twins will watch everything. They aren't going to keep him from pitching once a week though in Australia.
3.) Interesting list. The guys they have listed for the Twins, aside from Logan Wade and Thorpe, haven't been with the Twins in a while. Wise spent 2012 with Rochester. Williams was released by the Twins several years ago now and never got higher than A ball. He's been really good over there. Justin Huber got some time with the Twins, but that was 2-3 years ago too.
Luke made the All-Star team because of name recognition. He just started playing the past week or so, 6-7 games in all, I think.
If I remember correctly, Hughes was pretty good in AA. Thorpe on the other hand hasn't pitched in low A yet. I'd say that this is a good sign he's going to start in Cedar Rapids next season. That should be a fun rotation to watch with Thorpe, Stewart, and Gonsalves.
When following prospects there are lessons to be learned that shape your future projections. Like Age to level of competition. I used be very high on players like Kevin West or Rene Leveret who were much older than their competition , and lower on player like Plouffe and Span who were young for AAA.
Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan
There are a few lessons I've learned with Hughes. Like a player needs a position and it helps if their offensive skill set matches that position. Also Strike out to Walks matter a lot if a player doesn't show strong and steady power numbers. The most important lesson with Hughes is this: it's not the end of the world if you lose a player to wavers, it means most likely they've been a fringe major leaguer for longer than you've wanted to admit.
As for Thorpe the consistent high list ranking for a player who has only pitched is the Gulf Coast league is for two very good reasons, Aussie take longer to develop, so when one blasts high numbers out of the gate, it makes people take notice. Also, if Thorpe's skills would make him a 1st rounder in the US draft for NEXT year and he pro debut was that good, he'd be getting the same treatment as Stewart is this year.
Thorpe looks like he'll pitch this year at class A, Cedar Rapids. He'll be 18. So it's like his senior year of high school this coming spring. How many high school pitchers would begin in Class A or even make it to class A their first year? Not many, granted, some due to innings counts/fatigue worries. Thorpe could end up in Ft. Myers (A+) by the end of the year.
It's impressive and hopeful for Twins fans.
My guess is he'll just be one year behind Stewart...and perhaps a comparable level talent (Left handedness gives him a little bit of help).
I could see Stewart tearing up Cedar Rapids and then ending up at Ft. Myers, but no higher. He'll get at most 120 IP.
The Twins have a lot of pitchers at the same development level and it looks like at A and A+ they may even employ 6 man rotations. And in 2-4 years from now we should see them make it to the big leagues. Kind of exciting for 2015 (late), 2016, and 2017.
Thorpe pitched the first inning in the Futuretronics 2013 ABL All-Star Game presented by Be the Influence: Tackling Binge Drinking (yep that's the official name) this morning. He struck out 1 and only allowed one baserunner on a harmless two-out walk.
He's been gradually built up from around 60 pitches in his first start to 100 in his 4th start before the All-Star Game, so I would imagine we can expect him to throw about 100 pitches in each of the 6 remaining weekend series. If the Aces don't make the playoffs this would give him a couple weeks off before Pitchers and Catchers report in February. The Aces are currently tied for the third playoff spot, and I'm not sure how long the playoffs last.
Roadtrip for a weekend series of Thorpe, Stewart, and Gonsalves at Cedar Rapids this summer. :go: