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Top 50 Jays Prospects, Jays Journal Edition: #18 Dickie Thon

The son of a former Major League player and recipient of the second-highest signing bonus from the Blue Jays in the 2010 draft comes in at #18…

#18 Dickie Joe Thon

Shortstop / 19 years old / 6′2″ 185 lbs

Born: November 16th, 1991 in Houston, Texas

Bats: Right    Throws: Right

High School: Academia Perpetio Socorro (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

College: Had signed a letter of intent with Rice University

Drafted By: The Toronto Blue Jays in the 5th round (156th overall) in the 2010 First-Year-Player Draft

Jersey Number: #5 in the Blue Jays’ Instructional League

Quick Facts:

  • Favorite baseball player is Mickey Mantle
  • Son of former Houston Astro Dickie Thon

Interviews:

  • Jays Journal exclusive interview can be found here

Video:

  • MLB.com’s 2010 Draft Coverage video can be seen here

Extra Information and previous experience:

Dickie Thon’s father of the same name was a 15-year Major League Baseball veteran, playing the majority of his career with the Houston Astros. While his son, Dickie Joe, has good bloodlines and very good tools across the board, he is considered to not be as polished as people would think, and some scouts feel that he is relatively far off from the Majors. Regardless, scouts still see Thon Jr. as having starting shortstop potential at the Major League level, and considered him Puerto Rico’s best prospect in the 2010 draft.

He has been described as a raw tools shortstop looking to refine those tools the more he moves up the Jays’ minor league system.

On the field, Thon is a solid defender with an above-average arm that will likely cement him at shortstop throughout his professional career. He’s not a flashy defender, but makes a lot of plays look natural. His footwork is good considering his current stage of development, with very good, soft hands, and he will work on his release through working with his professional coaches.

At the plate, Dickie Joe is an above-average hitter with good execution on squaring up to a ball. Andrew Tinnish, the Blue Jays’ Director of Amateur Scouting, has said that Thon has a quick bat and that he has seen Thon square up to guys throwing 89-92 mph while using a wooden bat. Baseball America notes that his bat is ‘a little inconsistent’ now, and that he profiles as a good hitter for the top of a batting order. Dickie Joe currently has gap power potential which could grow into home run power as he fills out his frame and continues to work on his swing through more at-bats. Andy Seiler of MLB Bonus Baby opined that Thon is a little rough around the edges when it comes to recognizing pitches but has raw power potential.

One of Thon’s biggest assets is his speed, as he is an above average runner, and his ability to succeed on the base paths projects to be a big part of his game. Baseball America considers Thon an average runner out of the box, but that he is well underway to becoming above-average in that regard. Dickie Joe has inherited good baseball instincts from his father, and projects to steal 25-30 bases a year.

The Blue Jays were scouting then free-agent and current Blue Jays shortstop prospect Adeiny Hechavarria at around the same time they were watching Dickie Joe in Puerto Rico.

Dana Brown (Special Assistant to the General Manager), Andrew Tinnish (Director of Amateur Scouting), Perry Minasian (Director of Professional Scouting), Marc Tramuta (National Crosschecker), Jorge Rivera (Puerto Rico Area Scout), and Carlos Rodriguez (no longer with the Blue Jays) did their homework on Thon, watching him in action 12 times.

When asked to compare Thon and Adeiny Hechavarria in an interview with Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, Andrew Tinnish offered an optimistic reply:

“Dickie Joe’s a different style player than Hechavarria. Thon projects to have a little more power, Hechavarria is a little bit more of a better athlete, more advanced defensively. [Hechavarria] is three years older.”

“But I wouldn’t be surprised if Thon is at, or past, Hechavarria’s ability at the same age,” he said.

That would really be something if Thon could develop into playing like, or better than, Adeiny Hechavarria, considered by some to have the best glove at shortstop in all of minor league baseball.

In that same article, Tinnish goes on to note that Thon’s maturity stood out to him the most at first, and that it was easy to tell Thon had grown up in the game, considering the way Thon talked about playing the field or pitch selection.

The Jays were so impressed with Thon’s overall package that they selected him with their 5th round pick in the 2010 draft, and signed him to a $1.5 million bonus, which was $1,338,900 over Major League Baseball’s recommended slot amount of $161,100.

It’s hard to really talk about what the Jays have in Thon, as he was unable to play for any of the Jays’ minor league affiliates in 2010. According to Dickie Joe’s father though, regardless of his son’s ability, Dickie Joe’s work ethic is one of the main things that is going to allow him to succeed in professional baseball.

“Some kids think that because they’ve signed, they have made it. My son understands he needs to work. Plenty of young guys have ability, but they have to work too. He did well in school which shows he’s very disciplined,” said Dickie Thon Sr.

Add Dickie Joe Thon to the list of exciting Blue Jays’ prospects to keep an eye on in 2011.

Expected 2011 Team: GCL Blue Jays

Ultimate ceiling if he puts it all together: MLB shortstop

-JM

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