PORT ST. LUCIE – It was 25 minutes before the first pitch at Tradition Field as the Mets were getting ready to host the Flying Tigers of Lakeland.
Besides playing some catch with his teammates and loosening up before this Class A contest in St. Lucie West, David Thompson was also the face of the starting lineup – appearing on the jumbo scoreboard, reading off the starters for that evening.
But as much as every other player would be fixed on the giant image, checking themselves out, Thompson glanced for a second and went about his pre-game ritual. It’s something that he has always done.
Thompson is the two-sport star that college baseball and football programs battled over when he was coming out of Miami’s fabled Westminster Christian High School. The all-time leading homerun hitter (55; 19 as a junior) in the state of Florida was a major quarterback prospect, and easily one of the best hitters in South Florida high school baseball history.
Today, two years after the New York Mets selected this All-ACC performer in the 4th round, Thompson is very much on course to be that prospect that everyone has talked about since he was a youngster.
“Everything is going great and I am really excited about the future of this entire organization,” Thompson said. “This is a major opportunity to have the chance to be here and playing with a very talented team.”
Thompson has always been the kind of player who never boasts or pushes himself in the spotlight. Being around impressive people along the way in his career, such as University of Miami head coach Jim Morris, has gotten him ready for this opportunity, and he is doing his best to make sure that it happens.
Thompson actually entered the University of Miami on a football and baseball scholarship, but had two surgeries for a torn labrum in his right shoulder. However, he did well, hitting six home runs.
In his final season in Coral Gables, he led the Hurricanes to the College World Series with a country-leading 19 home runs, and a .323 batting average. The only thing that truly separated this talented young man from the 1st or 2nd rounds were injury concerns.
While the questions about the shoulder surgeries and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS), which he was diagnosed with, still following him around, Thompson has surprised those who felt that third base might night be a position that he will be able to play.
Remember, when he was drafted last year, and he had a banner season at Brooklyn (New York-Penn League), many not too far away were already mentioning Thompson in the same sentence as David Wright.
In his two stops so far this year, beginning with Columbia (South Atlantic League) and now with Port Lucie, Thompson’s arm has been fine. In fact, with the way he swings the bat, there is no way that Manager Luis Rojas can take him out of the lineup.
“Just take everything day by day,” Thompson said. “I know if I stay healthy and play the way I can, things will work out. I am sure of it.”
So far this season, nobody can argue with him. In 95 games, he was hitting .290, had seven homers, but was among the best in all of minor league baseball this season with 80-plus runs batted in.
As he continues to remain healthy and show the Mets that he can play at every level, the 22-year-old (23 on August 28th), is very much on the radar in New York – with Port St. Lucie teammate Jhoan Urena, AA third baseman Phillip Evans being the only other current prospects looking to play third base at the big league level, Thompson knows that it will be a daily process. It always has been.