The Cubs and Keegan Thompson Are Hard at Work on His Velocity Issues

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The Cubs and Keegan Thompson Are Hard at Work on His Velocity Issues

Chicago Cubs

Although I don’t love that Keegan Thompson is struggling to get his velocity up to where it needs to be, I am relieved to know it is definitely not a physical health issue.

Sahadev Sharma wrote today at length about the mechanical issues Thompson is working through, how the Cubs are trying to help, and what might come next:

Thompson didn’t see a huge spike when pitching in relief last year, but he nevertheless sat around 93-94 mph with his four-seamer all year. It’s a far cry from where he is right now, especially if the Cubs were looking at him to do more single-inning, air-it-out work.

It’s all about the legs with Thompson, apparently, and I do remember that being a big part of the Cubs’ work with him the previous two years (what helped him break out was engaging his lower half more, if I remember correctly). But with his top half and lower half out of sync, Thompson is trying to bump his velocity using too much of his top half, and that just doesn’t work.

David Ross suggested that Thompson is aware of his velocity issues, and is routinely checking the radar gun to see if he’s getting things back on track. But then trying to throw harder can just get your mechanics even more out of whack. Completely understandable, even if not ideal.

You can read the piece at The Athletic for all that the Cubs are doing to work on the issue, which is something Thompson has dealt with before. That is potentially encouraging. As you would expect, though, now that we’re just a week out from the regular season, this all could mean Thompson starts the season at Triple-A. From Sharma:

The Cubs want the version of Thompson they had early last season when he looked like one of the most dangerous multi-inning relief weapons in all of baseball. But if he needs more time to get to where he once was, they won’t overthink the situation and would be willing to give him more time in Iowa to continue to work on the mechanical tweaks that are needed.

That first part is kind of the money point. When Keegan Thompson is right, the relief version we’ve seen from him is absolutely dominant. If it takes a little extra time to get him back to that point, then so be it. It’d be better to have that version of Thompson for the final four months of the season or whatever, rather than see him struggle to get things sorted out in the big league bullpen in April and May.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.