College | Story | 4/16/2021

Scouting Notebook: North Carolina

Kyler Peterson        
Photo: Justice Thompson (UNC Athletic Communications)
College Player Report Database

Previously Featured:
April 2 Notebook: Austin LoveCaden O'Brien
April 3 Notebook: Max Alba
April 4 Notebook: Davis PalermoShawn Rapp

Players Covered: Justice Thompson, Johnny Castagnozzi, Tomas Frick, Caleb Roberts, Mac Horvath

What Happened:
A team with young talent and a couple big bats lost to two-of-three to a strong and experienced Florida State squad. Austin Love and the rest of the North Carolina bullpen put together a gem in Friday night’s pitching duel to take a 4-3 opening victory. Florida State’s experience and power bats ultimately prevailed in the following two games.

Carrying Tool: Star bats at the top. Justice Thompson has shown to be one of the more exciting players to watch in college baseball, offering highlights at the plate and in center field. Caleb Roberts has mashed seven homers and been consistent all year long.

Concerns: Overall depth in the lineup and in the weekend rotation. Beyond Thompson, Roberts, and Zarate, the Tarheels do not have much depth or contact in the lineup. On the mound, Austin Love is a very strong Friday night starter, but there are many question marks on Saturday and Sunday that will leave pressure on the bats to perform.

Best Player on the Field: Justice Thompson. The junior college transfer Thompson has been attracting eyes of scouting departments and college baseball fandom. The outfielder has made several dazzling plays in center while offering power and batting over .330 at the plate. Thompson is a premium athlete who will see his name called on in July.

Justice Thompson, OF, 2021 Eligible

A transfer from Northwest Florida State College, Thompson has exploded on to the scene as North Carolina’s best all-around player. The Florida native has shown electric moments on both sides of the ball.

Thompson stands at a tall, athletic, and slender 6-foot-4, 205 pounds with a very high waist and long limbs. He starts from a balanced stance with even feet and low hands. Thompson initiates his swing with a quiet upper-half load and small toe tap. He possesses above average bat speed and has a long path to the baseball. The length in his swing is partly due to his long limbs but will definitely need some shortening. Although Thompson was held from producing much damage on the weekend, he did flash some low-effort pop to center field on a couple drives to the warning track that ultimately resulted in fly outs. He was out front and not on time on off-speed at times and seemed to prey on fastballs low in the zone.

Thompson has shown off his legs in the field as well as on the basepaths this year, going 13-for-14 in the stolen base department. The outfielder is a long strider and covers lots of ground in center while seemingly always making a big play.

With present flashy tools and perhaps more power and body projection to tap into, Thompson will automatically be appealing to teams come draft day. With already big helium early in the spring, how much evaluators buy into the hit tool will determine how high Thompson goes in July.

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