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Chasing The Dream: The Tony Thomas Story and Interview

In the 3rd round of the 2007 MLB Draft the Chicago Cubs selected a player that many felt could turn out to be an early sleeper pick. They selected a 2nd Baseman from Florida State by the name of Tony Thomas. Before the draft Thomas was turning the heads of a lot of scouts due to his impressive numbers. Thomas led the NCAA in runs, doubles, total bases and had an impressive .430 batting average

Tony Thomas: Quick Stats

Team: Boston Red Sox Twitter: @GoldGlover2B

Height: 5′ 10″Weight: 180 lb Born: July 10, 1986 in Tallahassee, Florida, US (Age 25)

Drafted:  Chicago Cubs in the 3rd round of the 2007 MLB June Amateur Draft

Favorite Player Growing Up: Ken Griffey Jr.

In the 3rd round of the 2007 MLB Draft the Chicago Cubs selected a player that many felt could turn out to be an early sleeper pick. They selected a 2nd Baseman from Florida State by the name of Tony Thomas. Before the draft Thomas was turning the heads of a lot of scouts due to his impressive numbers. Thomas led the NCAA in runs, doubles, total bases and had an impressive .430 batting average. Some whom scouted Thomas though had doubts that he could stay at second base as they felt that he may be a defensive liability.

Thomas signed quickly and set out to prove his critics wrong. After a short stop at the Cubs rookie league team, Tony was sent to Class A Boise, where he excelled with the bat. In 182 at bats Tony put up an impressive .308 batting average and a .948 OPS. He also hit 20 extra base hits and 5 round trippers to go with 28 stolen bases. The glove however did appear to need some more work and instruction as Thomas fielder percentage was only .959. The good news for Thomas is that would end up being his worst year fielding in his pro career to date.

A new year and a new level Thomas continued his climb to the majors in 2008 with the Daytona Cubs. This would be his first full season of minor league baseball. One of the challenges for a young professional because they are not yet used to the daily grind of a full minor league season. With Daytona, Thomas posted solid numbers, a .266 avg to go with 30 doubles, 4 triples and 7 homers.  To go along with a solid season the Daytona Cubs won the Florida State League Championship and Tony Thomas was named series MVP.

Thomas photos via redsoxsource.com

As 2008 turned in to 2009 Thomas saw himself once again moving up through the Cubs system. This time he found himself playing for the Tennessee Smokies of the Southern League. With a new league came new challenges and Thomas saw his offensive numbers dip a bit in his first taste of AA baseball. In almost the same number of at bats as the year before Thomas batted .251 on the season but he did connect for a career high 11 home runs. These numbers however were not good enough for him to advance in 2010 to the next level.  Playing at the AA level is often said to be one of the hardest adjustments for a professional baseball player. The competition jump is far greater than at any level up until this point. Thomas used his second season at this level to show improvement. At the age of 23, the  second baseman had his best full season of professional baseball in 2010.  Thomas improved across the board, posting a .276 average and .823 OPS . He also piled up the extra base hits, with 29 doubles, 11 triples, and 11 home runs. Producing numbers like that will definitely get ones prospect status boosted.

In the off season just before spring training was set to get underway for the 2011 season Thomas found himself traded. The Chicago Cubs traded Tony Thomas to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for pitcher Robert Coello.  For Thomas, not only did this trade mean a new team, but it also meant a new style of play in the American League. The good news for Thomas was most of his 2011 season was spent with the Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston’s top minor league affiliate. Though his numbers dipped in his first taste of baseball at the AAA level, Thomas is hungry to improve his overall game. On the offensive side Thomas batted .212 and on the defensive side he fielded at a .973 level. These numbers are numbers that Thomas believes he can improve on heading into 2012.

The off season for Thomas in 2012 has been a busy one. Thomas has been playing winter league baseball for Algodoneros de Guasave in the Mexican League his team is currently in the playoffs and he his trying to finish the season strong as he prepares himself for a critical year in his career. If Thomas can improve his game like he did in his second year at AA, he may find himself walking out of the dugout at Fenway Park before you know it.  Will will continue to track Thomas through out the year to see if he does and hopefully catch up with him again to talk about his big league debut. A special thanks to Tony as he took some time out of his schedule in Mexico to answer some questions.

Seven Questions with Tony Thomas

What was it like to be drafted by the Cubs in the 3rd round back in 2007? What were you doing when you found out?
It was a dream come true! I always wanted to play pro ball ever since I started playing tee ball when I was 5! When I got the phone call I was actually playing NCAA football with my room mates in my room while my family was in the other room watching the draft!
Besides being drafted you have already been traded once in your career from the Cubs to the Red Sox. What was the experience like, how did you handle it?
This was the first time I was traded. I was a little nervous at first since I only knew the cubs personal! I haven’t even played against any red sox clubs. Then I looked at it from the Red Sox position they made the trade to get me cause they wanted me. So i took it as a great opportunity to go on with my career.
In your pro-career you have been coached and instructed by many different coaches from two franchises. Who has been the most influential coach in your pro-career?
I have seen, talked and learned a lot from a wide variety of coaches. Some who had great careers and even hall of famers. The most influential I would have to say was my hitting coach last year Chilli Davis! He taught me how to deal with myself when times were tough! I think this was the best advice I could take from anybody.
Tell us a little bit about your game and what you bring to the table each day you put on the uniform?
I like to see myself as fundamentally sound defensive player! I utilize my speed on the base paths and cause havoc to the defense while being a tough out at the plate with some pop as well!
What has been the biggest moment or memory in your pro-career so far?
In 2008 I was on the Daytona Cubs in high A and we won the championship and I was MVP of the series.
You are currently playing winter ball, what has that experience been like for you?
I’m playing In the Mexican league for Guasave. The atmosphere at the stadiums are unbelievable especially now in the playoffs!
What are your goals heading into spring training and the 2012 season?
My goals for spring training are to improve some of my defensive skills as well as working the count in my at bats. Also to go out there and prove to myself that I can and will play at the next level as well as in the Big Leagues.
A Few For Fun
Who was your favorite baseball player growing up? Favorite non-baseball athlete?
My favorite baseball player was Ken Griffey Jr. Non baseball player is Micheal Jordan.
Favorite Music artist or group at the moment?
A tie between Drake and Usher
Who is the biggest practical joker you have come across so far in your career?
Russ Canzler we came up together with the Cubs and he actually got a call up last year with the Tampa Bay Rays.
A big thanks to Tony for taking time out to sit down and answer some questions as his road to the majors continues. We look forward to following him during the 2012 season. Please follow Tony at @GoldGlover2B to follow his progression in 2012 and as well.
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1 Comment on Chasing The Dream: The Tony Thomas Story and Interview

  1. Bob Davidoski // March 6, 2013 at 4:44 pm // Reply

    I had a chance to meet Tony this past offseason when he worked at our company in Philly and I can tell you he is a great guy, very humble, and a very hard worker. I wish Tony all the best and hope to see him get his chance in 2013 with Boston. Good luck Tony, hope you get to the show this year!

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