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Brewers sign left-hander Darrell Thompson out of independent ball

The 28-year-old will get his first chance in affiliated ball after a breakout season with the Schaumburg Boomers

Milwaukee Brewers v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Brewers reportedly made a minor signing a couple of weeks into their offseason, as the Schaumburg Boomers announced on Monday that Milwaukee signed left-handed reliever Darrell Thompson to a contract.

This will be Thompson’s first opportunity in affiliated baseball after six seasons of playing in various independent leagues. He began his professional career with stops in the Pecos League and the American Association and has spent the last four seasons with the Boomers, who play as a member of the Frontier League.

Thompson has posted a 3.44 ERA with a 30.5% strikeout rate as a professional. He took his game to another level in 2022, striking out 92 in 51 innings en route to a 1.41 ERA and 45.7% strikeout rate. He picked up 16 saves as the Boomers’ closer.

Thompson throws a four-seam fastball that sits in the mid-90s and tops out at 97 mph, a sweeping slider at 81 mph, and a changeup in the mid-to-upper 80s. His average spin rates on all three pitches would rank near the top among big-league pitchers.

The left-hander delivers the ball from his 6-foot-4 frame at a high sidearm slot similar to Josh Hader.

His high spin and arm slot likely produce plenty of deception that helps him rack up swings and misses. Based on his pitch metrics, Thompson could be someone who benefits from targeting the upper third of the strike zone with his fastball.

The Brewers have not announced the signing, but it is presumably a minor-league deal. Even if he does not crack the big-league roster out of spring training next year, Thompson could eventually join Jake Cousins and Justin Topa as relievers with promising stuff who have surfaced in the Brewers bullpen after stints in independent ball.