FanSided’s minor league specialists over at Seedlings to Stars, are currently undertaking the monumental task of ranking the Top 100 minor league prospects in baseball right now. Luckily for us, Nathaniel Stoltz took a liking to our very own Tyler Thornburg. Thornburg is a right-handed pitcher, who the Brewers drafted in the 3rd Round of last years MLB draft. He finished the 2011 season at High-A with the Brevard County Manatees. Follow this link to read the S2S breakdown of this young arm, otherwise the rest of this article will make no sense.
Tyler Thornburg is a 23 year old righty from Charleston Southern University. In 2010, Tyler was named Big South 2nd team All-Conference and played both pitcher and right fielder. In just 33 games pitching in the minors, he has recorded 198 strikeouts and an 11-6 record with a save. Many pro scouts (including S2S heavyweight Nathaniel Stoltz), liken TT to Tim Lincecum in delivery and overall size. Thornburg is just 5’11″, but has a very unique delivery, which makes his pitches very deceptive.
Nathaniel seems to think that Thornburg’s future is in the rotation and I agree. While their may be some questions about his durability, a guy with that high of a strikeout ratio needs to be starting games. Stoltz references Tim Lincecum and Josh Collmenter as pitchers with similar characteristics, that to me says that he could probably be a starter. However, the odds are that he would probably start with bullpen work, like many young pitchers today.
The article also references that the Brewers may be steering him towards a bullpen role. I certainly hope that this is not the case. This season, the kid threw 2 complete games, one of which was a shutout. Very rarely do you see complete games in Low -A baseball. A strong bullpen can be very important, as the Cardinals proved this season, but a solid starter is more valuable. Thornburg’s strikeout numbers are just way to impressive and are almost blinding to me. All of the things that are written in this article about his lack of control and inability to throw strikes, are not important if guys are swinging and missing.
Great article, full of things for us to look forward to over next season. If he is able to handle the hitters in Single-A ball, he will no doubt find himself in Double-A next season and possible in Nashville with the Sounds. Thornburg was one of the biggest surprises of this past minor league season, now we just have to keep an eye on him and see where his talent can take him. I expect some great things from him over the next few years.