Daryl Marcelus Thompson
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6', Weight 180 lb.
- High School La Plata High School
- Debut June 21, 2008
- Final Game May 26, 2011
- Born November 2, 1985 in La Plata, MD, USA
Pitcher Daryl Thompson was one of the last players drafted by the Montreal Expos to make his major league debut. He was signed out of high school by scout Alex Smith in the 8th round of the 2003 amateur draft, the penultimate one in which the Expos took part before they became the Washington Nationals, and made his debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 2008.
It took a while for Thompson to step forward as a major league prospect, even though he began his career shortly after being drafted. He went 4-9 for the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2004, then 2-3 in only 11 starts for the same team in 2005. In 2006, he was included in a major trade between the Nationals and Reds, going to Cincinnati alongside Bill Bray, Gary Majewski, Brendan Harris and Royce Clayton in return for Felipe Lopez, Ryan Wagner and Austin Kearns. He was considered a throw-in at the time, but observers had to reconsider this assessment when he had a great year between the Dayton Dragons and Sarasota Reds in 2007, going a combined 14-5 with a 3.18 ERA in 27 starts, with 121 strikeouts in 133 innings. Displaying a solid fastball in the low-90's complemented by a good curve ball and change-up, he was suddenly a hot property and was added to the Reds' 40-man roster after the season.
Thompson impressed the Reds' top brass in spring training of 2008 and was sent to the AA Chattanooga Lookouts to open the season. He put up a glittering 1.76 ERA in 10 starts to earn a promotion to the AAA Louisville Bats, where he won three of his first four starts. Needing an additional starting pitcher for an interleague series, the Reds decided to give him a start on June 21 at Yankee Stadium. Manager Dusty Baker tried to lower expectations by pointing to Thompson's limited experience above A-ball, but explained that he would be an important part of the Reds' mound staff in the future and that the major league exposure would do him good even if he was shelled. Thompson defied these lowered expectations by pitching five scoreless innings and showing tremendous poise in escaping a none-out, bases-loaded jam in the 2nd inning. He was facing the New York Yankees' Dan Giese that day, who was also making his first major league start, although, in contrast with the 22-year old Thompson, Giese was a minor league veteran who had pitched a few games in relief in the majors 2007 and 2008. The Reds won the game 6-0, but the win went to reliever Bill Bray, who had been part of the trade that brought Thompson to the Reds organization two years earlier. He was given two more starts after that priomising debut, but lost both, finishing the season with a record of 0-2, 6.91 in 14 ⅓ innings.
He spent the entire 2009 season in the minor leagues as he was bothered by injuries. He made only 8 appearances with Louisville, going 1-2, 6.59 and also made a rehabilitation start with the GCL Reds. He was outrighted to the minor leagues on November 21st. 2010 was much the same, with a rehabilitation stint with the AZL Reds and 12 starts with the AA Carolina Mudcats, for whom he went 0-5, 3.71. In 2011, he made it back to the majors, but only for one game. He started the year back at Carolina, where he was 1-4, 4.44 in 9 starts, then went to Louisville, where he made 15 starts. There his record was 3-4, 4.17 and he earned a call back to Cincinnati for a single appearance on May 26th. In 3 innings of relief against the Philadelphia Phillies, he allowed 5 runs on 6 hits and 5 walks and did not strike out anyone, being sent back to the minors shortly thereafter. He became a free agent after the season.