Shaq Thompson is signed, sealed and about to be delivered into the unpredictable world that is minor league baseball.
The freshly graduated Grant High School football star and The Bee's 2011 Player of the Year signed his Boston Red Sox the remaining parts of his contract today from his North Sacramento home to give outfield duty a go this summer. The contract also required a signature from his mother, Patty Thompson.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Thomson was picked in the 18th round by the Red Sox in the recent major league draft, despite his national letter of intent contract with the University of Washington to play football. Thompson said he will honor his Huskies obligation to play safety. His was a whirlwind recruiting process that had the national recruit tugged from all corners of the Pacific-12 Conference and beyond. Thompson said baseball helped him balance his sporting life so he wouldn't be overwhelmed by football around the clock.
Thompson has already reported to Boston's spring training facility in Fort Myers, Fla. for workouts. He will play for the club's Rookie Level Gulf Coast League. Thompson said he needs to work on his hitting - he had 18 hits and 18 strikeouts this spring in batting .305 - but he is confident of his defensive abilities. Thompson has exceptional speed in the outfield and on the base paths, and he has a strong arm.
He admitted to being a bit rusty this spring, having focused on track his sophomore and junior seasons with no baseball involvement in the offseason. The Red Sox clearly view Thompson as a unique athlete with a high ceiling of improvement, and an 18th round selection makes for a relatively low risk.
Said Grant baseball coach Danny Chavez recently, "I just know the kid has a phenomenal arm and all the speed in the world, and he can track any ball down. He has that great athletic ability and great mental approach, and he's such a quality young man, so why not take a chance on putting him in your organization? This game is all about potential and he's got amazing potential."
- Joe Davidson
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