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Jake Thomas Determined to Succeed

Young outfielder works hard to get the results he wants despite his smaller stature

Jake Thomas Determined to Succeed

November 4, 2016

Jake Thomas works very hard to achieve the results he wants in pro ball. (Jonathan Cohen)

Jake Thomas works very hard to achieve the results he wants in pro ball. (Jonathan Cohen)

 

Determined to climb the minor league ladder despite his smaller stature, outfielder Jake Thomas proves it takes more than size to succeed in the sport of baseball.

Standing just 5’10” and weighing 190 pounds, Thomas played like a much bigger athlete for the Lansing Lugnuts in 2016.

Carrying a .244/.325/.315 slash line in the Midwest League; Thomas recorded 52 hits, which included: seven doubles, and four triples as a member of the Blue Jays low-A affiliate.

While his numbers could still improve, the prospect did a respectable job for a guy who skipped over two levels. Playing in the GCL in 2015, Thomas proved his value enough in spring training to jump over the short season teams to join a full season club last year.

One area that helped Thomas make the jump was his ability to hit for more power in spring training.

“It was just about getting more reps and more power in my swing during spring training,” said Thomas. “It was about developing into a better player all-around.”

Another aspect of the prospects game that has helped him find success in professional baseball is the fact that he hasn’t changed his plate approach much.

“My plate approach is coming along great. It’s something that I hadn’t really changed much since turning pro,” explained Thomas. “I always know what I want to do every at-bat versus a certain pitcher, so I don’t think it changed too much between where I was in college and pro ball. I’m just trying to keep it simple.”

But Thomas is more than just a reliable bat, he’s also a solid defender. With the ability and range to play all three outfield positions, the prospect maintained a .969 fielding percentage in 2016.

Showing his arm strength as a member of the Lugnuts; Thomas picked up four outfield assists and took part in a double play in his 472 2/3 innings in the field.

Feeling his defensive game has improved a lot in professional baseball, Thomas credits his ability to get reads off the bat to his current success.

“I’m getting better reads off the bat,” stated Thomas. “I’m a little more aggressive and quicker in the outfield and I feel that has helped my game improve a lot over what it was in the past.”

Impressed by the prospects intense nature at approaching the game, Lansing Lugnuts hitting coach Donnie Murphy feels Thomas is on the right path to finding success if he continues to work hard at his craft.

“Jake is a smaller guy that’s very intense,” stated Murphy. “Jake continues to work on his craft every day. He understands there’s room for improvement and he’s the kind of guy that’s going to work his hardest to get the results he wants.”

If Thomas takes the same mindset into next season that he used in 2016, the prospect should have no problem earning another promotion sometime during the 2017 calendar year.

Toronto Blue Jays fans certainly hope Jake Thomas can do that and more with his tremendous work ethic moving forward.