Trayce Thompson Looking To Reduce Strikeout Rate With Dodgers

With the Los Angeles Dodgers in need of depth while Mookie Betts was on the 10-day injured list and preferring to add a right-handed hitting outfielder, they reunited with Trayce Thompson via trade with the Detroit Tigers.

Thompson began the season with the San Diego Padres but struggled in limited opportunities and was designated for assignment in May. That led to signing a Minor League contract with the Tigers before getting traded to the Dodgers.

He’s emerged as a key contributor and has made regular starts after Betts returned for the IL. Thompson now finds himself receiving playing time in left field due to Chris Taylor still recovering from a fracture in his foot.

While he’s come up with timely hits for the Dodgers, Thompson is focused on being more consistent and reducing his strikeout rate.

“In my career I’ve always been a guy that struck out a lot, so the times where I’ve played my best, I’m controlling the zone better,” he said. “Especially the fastball.

“That’s been a big part of my game this year, getting here and having a little bit of success, so just trying to keep it going. We have some amazing hitters here that I’ve learned from by watching. Just trying to be as consistent as possible.”

Thompson owns a 32.9% strikeout rate through 79 plate appearances over 26 games with the Dodgers thus far. That’s up from his 29.1% career average, and Thompson additionally has a 30% chase rate this season that would be his all-time high.

Clayton Kershaw’s advice to Trayce Thompson

Along with learning from other batters and Dodgers hitting coaches, Thompson also has received advice from Clayton Kershaw.

“We were talking the other night, and he’s the best. I aspire to be like that. I feel like there’s a lot of room for improvement but I feel like the quality of at-bat has been decent,” Thompson said earlier this month.

He also relayed that Kershaw’s advice was to stop swinging at pitches out of the strike zone. “I mean, I knew that. But it’s good to hear it, especially from him,” Thompson said.

“His word carries a lot of weight in here and in this sport. And he’s one of my closest friends in this locker room. He’s meant a lot to me any time I’ve had this uniform on and even when I’ve been in other places. We’ve always kept close.”

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