Next Up Series – Thomas Hatch Finally to Debut in 2017

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My introduction to Thomas Hatch came in the 2016 College World Series. The young right-hander threw a complete game shutout against the University of California at Santa Barbara. He showed great command and control of his pitches throughout the game. But that’s all I saw him last year. After pitching 131 innings in college, the Cubs shut down Hatch for the rest of the season. He did show up in fall instructs and garner rave reviews from Arizona Phil and John Arguello.

hatch-77-2016-instructsOut of all the pitchers in the Cub’s system in 2017, Hatch is the one that I look forward to seeing most because he’s the one I’ve seen the least. in addition to his physical skills, others rave about his mental makeup. In an article on MLB.com, Cash Kruth described Hatch’s 2016 season:

Hatch is a horse. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound right-hander tossed three consecutive shutouts this spring to earn Big 12 Pitcher of the Year honors. That stretch, as well as a season in which he went 7-2 with a 2.16 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 16 starts, alleviated concerns after he missed all of 2015 with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament that didn’t require surgery.

When I saw him in the CWS, here is what I said of the 3rd round pick:

He has a four-pitch repertoire that includes a fastball, slider, changeup, and sinker, and is known more for pitching to ground ball contact than for getting strikeouts.

When working from the windup, Hatch stands straight with his hands at his waist and throws from a three-quarter arm slot. When he goes to the stretch, he gets in this little Virginia-type crouch that I think takes away some of his command and velocity. I saw him several times come in on the hands of right-handed hitters to jam them up. I also like the fact that Hatch is not afraid to move the ball around the zone.

Current Info
Starting Pitcher
6’1 200 pounds
Throws Right
21 years old

Strengths
Big 12 Pitcher of the Year
Threw 131 IP in 2016 after missing 2015
Nice four-pitch mix
Goes deep into games

Areas of Concern
Missed all of 2015 with a sprained UCL but did not have surgery

hatch-65-2016-afiNext Up in 2017
I have seen reports that he should be at South Bend or Myrtle Beach. There is no definitive answer. I wanted to see Preston Morrison at Myrtle Beach last year and was wrong. I would like to see Hatch there this year. So, in all likelihood, the Cubs will put him at South Bend.

What I would like to see
I just want to see him pitch as advertised. I don’t know if he’s going to be the ace that I think he could be, but I think he could be a very good pitcher. And by “very good pitcher” I mean a number three or four starter. Originally, when he was drafted, I thought he might be a notch above Trevor Clifton. In reality, that would still make him a pretty good arm, something the Cubs need more of when it comes to starters.

*Cards made from Fall Instructs pictures by John Arguello

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