Thatcher with the Padres in 2009
|Arizona Diamondbacks – No. 57|
October 4, 1981 |
|Bats: Left||Throws: Left|
|July 26, 2007 for the San Diego Padres|
(through 2013 season)
|Earned run average||3.34|
Thatcher was a member of Kokomo High School's basketball team for four years where he was an all-region selection. He was a freshman on the 1997 team that played in Indiana's final true state tournament and set a school record for 3-pointers in a game as a senior in 2000.
Thatcher was undrafted out of college and played with the River City Rascals of the independent Frontier League in 2004 and 2005. He was signed by the Milwaukee Brewers as a free agent in 2005 and assigned to the Rookie League Helena Brewers. Thatcher had progressed to the Triple-A Nashville Sounds in 2007 when he was traded to the San Diego Padres, along with prospects Will Inman and Steve Garrison, for relief pitcher Scott Linebrink. Thatcher was immediately placed in the bullpen of the Padres big league club.
Thatcher made his Major League debut with the Padres on July 26, 2007, in Houston against the Astros. He appeared in 22 games in 2007, finishing with a 2-2 record and 1.29 ERA. He also appeared in 8 games with the Triple-A Portland Beavers.
Thatcher began 2008 with the San Diego Padres, but was sent down to Portland in mid-May after posting a 6.75 ERA in 16 appearances. He made nine more appearances with the big league club in 2008, the final one on July 23. He finished the year with a 0-4 record and 8.42 ERA in San Diego. With Portland, he posted a 2.77 ERA over 39 total innings.
Following spring training in 2009, Thatcher started the season in Portland but was called up to San Diego on May 15, 2009. Aside from five days in June and two weeks in mid-July, he remained with the Major League club through the remainder of the year. He finished 2009 with a 2.80 ERA in 45 innings across 52 games, and 55 strike-outs against 18 walks.
Thatcher had shoulder soreness in spring training in 2010 and started the season on the disabled list, but he rejoined the team in mid-April. Thatcher emerged as one of the top left-handed specialists in the National League. He posted a 1.29 ERA in 35 innings and 65 games, with 45 strike-outs and 7 walks. He held batters to a .185 batting average and .465 OPS.
Thatcher's shoulder again gave him trouble in spring training of 2011, and he again began the season on the disabled list. But the shoulder did not respond to treatment and he was forced to undergo surgery in May. The surgery cleaned up the labrum and the rotator cuff, and Thatcher rejoined the team in August after a rehab stint. He finished with a 4.50 ERA in 10 innings over 18 games.
In 2012, Thatcher returned to his role as left-handed specialist. He initially pitched through a nagging knee soreness that eventually forced him to rest the knee throughout August and then required arthroscopic to repair a tendon after the season. Thatcher still put up a 3.41 ERA and 39 strike-outs in 312⁄3 innings. From 2009 through 2012, Thatcher appeared in 190 games and held left-handers to a .182 average. Overall, he has a 2.66 ERA and .221 opponents batting average during that span.
Thatcher is unusual in that he throws only two pitches, neither of which is a four-seam fastball. He almost exclusively throws a cut fastball at 83–87 mph or a slider at 77–79. His slider is mainly a 2-strike pitch. Early in his career, he threw a changeup to right-handed hitters, but he has thrown only a small handful since the 2008 season.
During the offseason, Thatcher resides in Kokomo, Indiana and enjoys playing golf on his down time. Both of his sisters were student-athletes at Indiana State University, Anne a member of the women's basketball team and Mary Kate "Goose," a member of the women's golf team. He is the son of Phil and Sara Thatcher and his father also pitched for Indiana State University while his mother was a cheerleader.
Thatcher's wife, Katie, is also a Kokomo native.
He has had the nicknames "The Prime Minister" and "The Throwin' Kokomoan".
- Center, Bill (March 23, 2013). "LHP Thatcher made shrewd decision in choosing baseball". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- "Joe Thatcher Traded To San Diego Padres, Set To Join Major League Club". Indiana State Sycamores. July 26, 2007. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- Hughes, David (July 27, 2007). "Former Indiana State pitcher Joe Thatcher gets ultimate call". Tribune-Star. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- Brock, Corey (April 27, 2011). "Thatcher slated for left shoulder surgery". MLB.com. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- Brock, Corey (February 20, 2012). "Thatcher hoping shoulder woes behind him". MLB.com. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- Brock, Corey (March 13, 2013). "Thatcher comfortable taking it slow in spring". MLB.com. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
- "PITCHf/x Player Card: Joe Thatcher". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
- "Major league drama". Kokomo Perspective. Retrieved 2010-06-05.
- Brock, Corey (November 21, 2012). "Indiana will always be home for Thatcher". MLB.com. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
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