A Blog of Toronto Blue Jays Prospects Interviews, Evaluations and News

Lane Thomas Looking to Rebound

Lane Thomas Looking to Rebound

March 11, 2016

There’s nothing more frustrating to an athlete than a nagging injury that hampers their play for an extended period of time. But unfortunately these things happen on occasion and players have to find a way to persevere through them before being able to compete with the same gusto that fans are familiar seeing from them on a daily basis.

Understanding the frustration that comes with dealing with missing extended time last season, Blue Jays prospect Lane Thomas is looking to put the past behind him in 2016.

Missing a lot of time in 2015 with a wrist injury that didn’t seem to ever fully heal during his campaign, Thomas spent the majority of his season in the Northwest League with the Vancouver Canadians.

Carrying a .225/.257/.391 slash line with the Canadians wasn’t the perfect start to his ‘A’ ball career. While his numbers were hindered a bit by the struggles of his injury, Thomas showed some promise as he notched 13 doubles and five home runs in his 169 at-bats.

Getting a brief taste of the next level, Thomas joined the low-A Lansing Lugnuts in August. The 20-year old got into nine contests before finishing the year on the DL. While in Lansing, Thomas added an additional four hits, which included two doubles respectably.

Despite the adversity he dealt with in 2015 the one thing that hasn’t changed for Thomas is the approach he has developed at the plate in professional baseball. With a strong emphasis on this skill placed on their players by all of the coaches in the organization. The young prospect feels that he’ll be able to handle the highs and lows that come with hitting for years to come.

“My plate approach has been good since becoming a professional,” explained Thomas. “That’s what the coaches really preach. We have a pretty good idea what we’re going to do when we get to the plate. It’s been good staying consistent with my approach even when I’m struggling.”

While all the coaches in the organization are on the same page when it comes to approach in the batter’s box. Each coach has their own unique style that players take away from working with them and learning from Kenny Graham wasn’t any different for Thomas.

“Kenny Graham is awesome,” said Thomas. “Everybody pretty much teaches the same things. But Kenny really takes the time to get to know you as a person. He really tries to understand what’s on your mind. He helps with things other than just your swing. He focuses on what you’re thinking when you’re at the plate. It’s great working with him.”

His talents don’t end at the plate though as Thomas is an above-average defender. With the ability to play anywhere in the outfield, or in the middle infield makes Thomas a valuable piece of the Blue Jays organization.

Showing more range in the outfield, the prospect carried a .978 fielding percentage there in 2014. Still adjusting to the demands of playing in the infield; Thomas committed 20 errors at second base in 2015. With a .915 fielding percentage this past season that’s an area that will be a focal point for Thomas moving forward.

As expected Thomas was thrilled for the opportunity to play professional baseball at such a young age. Selected in the 5th round of the 2014 draft out of Bearden High School in Tennessee, the former prep standout claims being drafted was one of two baseball moments that brings him great pride.

“Being drafted by the Blue Jays was unbelievable,” stated Thomas. “I just woke up when I heard the news. It was awesome calling my Dad to tell him. It was pretty cool seeing my Dad’s expression afterwards. That was one of the greatest moments I’ve experienced so far.”

The other moment that makes the rising star beam with pride was winning gold as a member of the 2013 U18 Team USA baseball team.

“Winning a gold medal with Team USA was another great moment,” Thomas added. “To compete together with a group of guys for a month and achieve something like that was unbelievable.”

Memories will continue to surface for Thomas as he gets further into his professional career. Still in the early stages of everything expect the promising youngster to continue to get better when he’s healthy.

Currently preparing for such moments, Thomas has returned home to Tennessee to focus on his off-season routine. Concentrating mostly on the conditioning targets set out by the Blue Jays organization, Thomas admits he has a few goals of his own.

“In the off-season I run a lot,” said Thomas. “We don’t lift too much in the off-season. Another thing I want to do is put on some weight. The Blue Jays gives us a great workout plan to follow and stay in shape. It works great and I’ll be prepared for spring training.”

Looking for a fresh start in spring camp, Thomas will most likely begin his 2016 back in Lansing. But with hard work and determination the versatile player could find himself on a higher level team before the conclusion of the season.

A promotion is a realistic possibility if Thomas can find the same success in 2016 as he did in his first professional season two years ago when he carried an impressive .281/.369/.398 slash line, while competing for the Blue Jays two rookie-ball affiliates.

No matter where Lane Thomas ends up during the 2016 season, fans of the Blue Jays will be excited to see the promising young star competing again on the diamond.

Brian Crawford

Brian Crawford

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