Trayce Thompson got his strongest endorsement to date on Tuesday night from Jeff Samardzija after he made another catch bound to end up on highlight reels.
Thompson continues to make a strong case for playing time next season when he ended the seventh inning of a 4-2 White Sox victory with an all-out, diving grab in left-center field. Afterward, Samardzija, the benefactor from the game-saving catch, said he thinks Thompson’s glove is so good he deserves considerable playing time next season.
“That guy needs to be in the lineup,” Samardzija said. “I think he's proven here in the last few weeks that he's going to be there and be there for awhile. Dude can hit .050 for all I care. If you put that glove out there in the field, he's going to make plays for you, a lot like that (Lorenzo) Cain guy they have out there in their center field. So, he's got to play.”
Samardzija said he nearly “blew out giving a fist pump” when Thompson dove and, arm fully stretched, robbed Ben Zobrist of extra bases. The White Sox led 3-2 at the time and Kansas City had the speedy Alcides Escobar on first base with two outs. Adam Eaton had the close-up view of the grab and was equally impressed.
“If that ball gets down or through it’s a tie ballgame,” Eaton said. “For him to do that in that situation it was awesome. Like I said, I don’t know if I’ve seen somebody go all out like he did; that was impressive.”
Thompson’s bat has done much of the talking so far. He has a .295/.357/.552 slash line with five home runs and 15 RBIs in 39 games this season and had another homer robbed by Lorenzo Cain in the second inning.
But he’s known more for his glove and natural ability in the outfield. No matter which field he plays in, Thompson has looked outstanding and is the best defender the team has.
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The rookie enjoyed his part in the play and described Samardzija as “happy.”
“All these pitchers have been great to me soit’s nice to help them out,” Thompson said. “Seeing them get pumped up after a catch like that is the most gratifying for me. It was a lot of fun.”
Samardzija described the effort as unbelievable and one of the coolest he has seen in a while because of the ground Thompson covered and the diving effort. He hopes to see a lot more of it next season.
“He's a heck of a player and you want to see guys want to make those plays,” Samardzija said. “You've got to want to be in the top 10 (plays) every night, and that's what it's all about. And he has that.”