It hasn’t been the easiest of careers for Victorian Lewis Thorpe’s Major League Baseball journey however the left-handed pitcher earnt a call up to the Minnesota Twins starting rotation for Saturday morning’s (AEST) game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium.
Following a tumultuous 2020 campaign, Thorpe was looking to prove a point and improve his game and skill in order to stay within the organisation. After an offseason of intense work, added strength and a focus on his physical and mental health, coaches have noticed Thorpe’s intentions to turn his career around, evident in his increased fastball velocity during Spring Training.
Thorpe spoke to Twins Daily last month, saying he “trusted [his] stuff,” adding “the offspeed was down in the zone and the fastball was up” now, pleasing him as he saw the progress he was making.
With a new outlook and focus on the upcoming campaign, Thorpe said everything was coming along nicely.
“My head wasn’t clear, and this year, in the offseason, I committed myself to working out and working on my arm action and getting strength back in my legs”, Thorpe told the publication.
Speaking to MLB.com, Thorpe’s personal trainer and performance coach Anthony Tumbarello said the Twin “knew this year was a make-or-break”.
“He had a get-right mentality. As soon as he was in, he was dialed in. From day one until he left. There was never a day where there was a loss of focus or distracted”, Tumbarello added.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli remarked that “the sky is the limit” for Thorpe, commenting that not everyone has been able to see the full extent of what Thorpe is capable of. Baldelli says that first impressions of Thorpe in camp signaled that he’s worked hard and knows what he wants to achieve.
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The 2020 season saw Thorpe go back-and-forth between the main group and the Twins alternate training side, forcing him to ply his trade in the Minor Leagues and work his way up. The 2021 season started in similar fashion with Thorpe spending time at CHS Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota while the Twins hold a 6-7 record to begin season 2021.
Since making his debut on June 30 2019, where Thorpe got the start (but was credited with a loss) against the Chicago White Sox, he has appeared in another 18 games in two seasons at the highest level. He picked up his first career win in his second game against the New York Yankees on July 22 2019.
Thorpe has started in three games across his career and remained on the mound for an average of just over four innings in those starts for an average ERA of 4.39. He has a career average ERA of 6.14 across 19 appearances.
Despite needing to take time away from the team last season for personal reasons, Thorpe said that he was still happy to be within the Twins organisation, citing “it’s a great organisation and I’m happy to be here and be able to do my thing”.
It was unclear whether the 25-year-old would be able to be able to play this season, granted a fourth option. It means the organisation has flexibility with his usage, not needing to expose him to waivers in order to move him from a Major League roster.
Thorpe’s position was decided by an arbiter who had to judge whether the interrupted 60-game regular 2020 season should be counted as a “full season”. Since Thorpe had missed most of the 2015 and 2016 seasons in the Minor League system from needing Tommy John surgery, it made him a candidate for a fourth option.
The first pitch of the matchup between the Minnesota Twins and the Los Angeles Angles is at 11:38am AEST.
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