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Dickie Joe Thon Handled Reassignment Well

Repeating a level in Lansing was no problem for the super utility player

Dickie Joe Thon Handled Reassignment Well

November 17, 2015

Dickie Joe Thon

Dickie Joe Thon repeated Lansing in the first half of 2015. (Scott Mapes/MiLB.com)

One of the most challenging things for a minor league baseball player is to repeat a league. The news that a player is going back to a city they performed in the previous season can be discouraging at times. However, a positive attitude can go a long way and that’s exactly what Dickie Joe Thon had when he received the news that he was returning to Lansing for another season. While he would have preferred following the majority of his 2014 teammates to Dunedin the prospect was thankful to still be playing the game he loves.

“When I came out of spring training I was ready to play anywhere,” said Thon. “I was just grateful for another opportunity to play.”

Thon’s return was surprising by many as he performed well in Lansing the previous season. With a slash line of .265/.314/.365 in 2014, fans of the Lugnuts didn’t expect to see the young player for s second time. However, his return to Lansing was due to a logjam of infielders in the Blue Jays system. This meant the Toronto Blue Jays needed a place for Thon to begin his season before some shuffling of rosters could take place mid-season.

This marked the first time in Thon’s professional career where he would have to repeat a level, but this didn’t shake the prospect’s confidence at all. Carrying a .315/.403/.519 slash line in 54 at-bats was all the organization needed to see from the Puerto Rico native to know he was ready for his chance in advanced-A.

Encouraged by the way Thon handled his business during his second stint in the Midwest League. Lansing Lugnuts hitting coach Kenny Graham feels the 24-year old prospect stepped up to the challenge that was placed in front of him in April.

“It’s a big thing for players to repeat a level,” stated Graham. “The guys who are players take care of business when they have to repeat a level. They improve and perform every day. Dickie did just that in Lansing last season. He came out of the gates hot and he kept improving. That’s what you want to see as a coach.”

Used as a utility guy for the majority of his time in the Florida State League. Thon had some troubles finding consistency with the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Recording 51 hits in 283 at-bats wasn’t the way he wanted his first taste of high-A to go. But despite the struggles in the batter’s box Thon did record 19 extra base hits, which included: 13 doubles, four triples, and two home runs as a member of the Dunedin Blue Jays.

Thon credited a lot of his fast start to the preparation he received by playing winter ball with the Cangrejeros de Santurce last off-season. While he didn’t get into many games during his stint in Puerto Rico, Thon feels the experience of working with other professionals was second to none.

Thon says that “[Playing] winter ball last season helped in terms of seeing different things in the game. Everybody has a different way of doing things.”

Expanding his defensive game a lot over the past two seasons, Thon has increased his value to his club by being more than just a shortstop. Performing at second, third, and in the outfield respectably during his 2015 campaign; Thon put up his best numbers at second with a .957 fielding percentage, while taken part in 29 double plays and assisting on another 139.

Bouncing around to different positions can be difficult at times. But Thon loves the opportunity to break up the monotony of just being at one spot every day.

“I love playing multiple positions,” explained Thon. “I’ll play anywhere they need me. I love second base. The outfield is great too. Wherever they need me I’ll be ready.”

“Changing positions daily isn’t the easiest thing to do,” Thon added. “But as long as I’m in the lineup and it’s something that will help me keep playing I’ll gladly do it.”

There’s a good chance that Thon will be going through the same process again next season. Most likely returning to Dunedin out of spring camp, the prospect will look to do what he did in his second stint in the Midwest League in the Florida State League.

Fans of the Toronto Blue Jays certainly hope Dickie Joe Thon can do just that in 2016.

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

Brian has covered professional baseball for eight seasons for numerous media outlets.
Brian Crawford