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SL notes: Thompson on right path
No. 2 White Sox prospect steadily improving with Birmingham
06/04/2013 10:00 AM ET
Trayce Thompson hit .292 with 20 runs scored and 16 RBIs in May.
Trayce Thompson hit .292 with 20 runs scored and 16 RBIs in May. (John Shadrick)

Trayce Thompson is proud to be part of a distinguished basketball family. It just wasn't his sport of choice.

"I knew by the time I was six or seven that I wanted to be a baseball player," the Birmingham center fielder said.

It wasn't until after helping Rancho Santa Margarita to a California high school state title as a junior, though, that Thompson broke tradition and left basketball behind for good.

"I wanted to devote all my attention to being a better baseball player," he said. "It was a decision I felt I needed to make."

Thompson's two older brothers, including Golden State's Klay, would follow father Mychal -- the No. 1 pick in the 1978 draft by Portland -- to the NBA. Trayce would take another path.

"I want us to be a basketball family and a baseball family," the Chicago White Sox's No. 2 prospect said. "I don't see why we can't be both."

Thompson, 22, appears on his way to making that happen, though he remains a talented work in progress. The second-round pick in the 2009 Draft has five-tool skills but is still working to make more consistent contact at the plate.

The right-handed batter hit just .187 in April, but he improved to .292 in May. Thanks to 34 walks, he had a .364 on-base percentage through Sunday to go with 16 extra-base hits and 10 steals.

The 6-foot-3 Thompson advanced to Double-A from Class A Advanced Winston-Salem near the end of last season and even played a few games with Triple-A Charlotte. He hit 25 homers, drove in 96 runs and stole 21 bases, but also struck out 166 times.

The strikeout pace is down a little this season, with 55 in 54 games, as he works to shorten his swing and use all fields.

"I actually thought I was swinging pretty well in April -- balls just weren't dropping in," he said.

That is how Barons opponents feel with Thompson in center field. He has the speed to cover a lot of ground and a strong arm as well.

That is part of the athletic package that sets Thompson apart. But his baseball ambitions might have been road-blocked if the family hadn't moved from Portland to Southern California when he was 14.

"There was a lot more opportunity to play and get better," he said of the change of locale. "It was a big help for me."

Thompson's offseason workout partner and best friend is Nolan Arenado, who has taken over as the Colorado Rockies' third baseman as a rookie.

"I'm really happy for him," Thompson said. "It makes you want to get up there too even more."

Thompson got to enjoy brother Klay's breakout second season with the Warriors as well.

"I'd gotten a little burned out watching basketball on TV but not his playoff games," Trayce said. "Everybody got into it, and fans at our games were asking me about him."

San Antonio ousted the Warriors, but Klay appears to have a bright NBA future -- maybe even one to rival his father, who won two titles with the Los Angeles Lakers.

But the youngest Thompson will let Klay and oldest brother Mychel (currently in the NBA D-League) continue the family's basketball tradition. He is content with his sports choice.

In brief

Major Leaguers: Chattanooga outfielder Yasiel Puig and Mississippi left-hander Alex Wood, both dominant in Double-A, were promoted directly to the Majors. Puig, from Cuba, was called up by the Dodgers after posting a Southern League-best .313 average with eight homers and 37 RBIs in 40 games. Wood, a second-round pick in the 2012 Draft out of the University of Georgia, was added to the Atlanta bullpen after leading the circuit with a 1.26 ERA and going 4-2 in 10 starts.

Slump buster: Jacksonville outfielder Christian Yelich, No. 12 among MLB.com's Top 100 prospects, broke out of a seven-game hitless streak (0-for-23) with three consecutive two-hit games to conclude a series at Pensacola. His average was still .267 through Sunday, though he left Monday's game in the seventh inning with lower abdominal discomfort. In 40 games with the Suns, Miami's No. 1 prospect had 24 extra-base hits and 28 RBIs while posting a .348 on-base percentage thanks to 20 walks in 40 games.

Moving on up: Montgomery righty Matt Buschmann and Mobile righty Michael Bolsinger were promoted to Triple-A. Buschmann, moved up to Durham of the International League by Tampa Bay, was 6-3 with a 2.69 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 63 2/3 innings. Bolsinger, 4-0 with a 2.51 ERA, was promoted to Reno of the Pacific Coast League by Arizona after pitching a two-hit shutout for his first career complete game.

Guy Curtright is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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