April 13, 2024

Could Zack Thompson develop as a dangerous weapon in the Cardinals’ starting rotation?
The St. Louis Cardinals are eager to return to competitive status in 2024, and the growth of 26-year-old pitcher Zack Thompson will be a vital factor to watch given the team’s desire for more quality starting pitching. Thompson’s role changed in 2023; while he made 25 appearances for a total of 66.1 innings, he only started nine of them.

It’s unclear how Oliver Marmol and the Cardinals want to use Thompson this season. Despite the uncertainty, the 26-year-old is already prepared for a strong workload if the Cardinals decide to put him in the rotation.
“My entire offseason plan has been to make sure I’m physically and mentally prepared to try to throw 200 innings,” Thompson told Lynn Worthy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“I suppose it pushes me more than anything else. Bouncing between the rotation and the bullpen, I discovered several flaws in my game and in my preparation. I tried to finish it this offseason. Thompson continued, “I’m working on a couple of new weapons to ensure I’m ready to go as a starter.”


Cardinals' Zack Thompson staying patient as starter after unexpected minors  return


Zack Thompson bounced between the rotation and the bullpen last season, as well as from Triple-A to the Major Leagues. Thompson entered the 2023 season as a bullpen component, but the Cardinals demoted him and attempted to reposition him as a starter. He returned to the majors in July, making nine starts and posting some acceptable, if uninspiring, stats.

As Worthy pointed out, Thompson had a 4.57 ERA in nine starts (45.1 innings pitched), striking out more than one batter per inning. Thompson’s raw stuff should entice the Cardinals, but the 26-year-old will need to learn how to prevent heavy contact if he wants to stay in the rotation long term.

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