The son of a former major leaguer and recipient of the second-highest signing bonus from the Blue Jays in the 2010 draft is No. 31, Dickie Thon…
No. 31: Dickie Thon
Born: November 16th, 1991 in Houston, Texas
Bats: Right Throws: Right
High School: Academia Perpetio Socorro (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
College: Signed a letter of intent with Rice University
Acquired: Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 5th round (156th overall) of the 2010 Amateur Draft, signed for a $1.5 million bonus ($1,338,900 above slot) on August 16, 2010
Pre-2011 Rank: 18
- Favorite baseball player is Mickey Mantle
- Son of former Houston Astros infielder Dickie Thon
- Grew up in the United States before moving to Puerto Rico for high school
- Roomed with Jays catching prospect A.J. Jimenez during 2010 instructs
- Former Blue Jay Jose Cruz Jr. is his agent
- For much more background information on Thon, see my interview with him here
- MLB.com’s 2010 Draft coverage video:
Extra Information and previous experience:
In the spring of 2010, when the Blue Jays were scouting Adeiny Hechavarria, six members of their scouting department watched another shortstop a total of 12 times in his home country of Puerto Rico. His name was Dickie Thon, and a few months later, he was drafted in the fifth round before eventually being handed a $1.5 million signing bonus from the Jays. In addition to being the Jays’ second-highest bonus of the 2010 draft, the figure far surpassed MLB’s recommended slot amount of $161,100.
Due to a strong commitment to Rice University and some candid comments in the media from his father, Thon signed late and did not see any professional action in his draft year as a result. Though he did report to instructs down in Dunedin in the fall and play pro ball in Puerto Rico that winter, Thon had his eyes set on making his pro debut as a member of the Blue Jays organization in 2011.
While he did manage to make his debut last June with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays, it wasn’t without a few complications. After reporting to spring training and undergoing a routine physical, Thon was initially diagnosed with a blood disorder and was forced to miss some time. But upon further review, it turned out that the Texas native actually had a rare type of kidney disease and was forced to stay on the disabled list for practically all of extended spring training.
After going 7-for-21 (.333) in his first seven games, Thon had a good July at the plate, hitting .269 in 20 contests with a double and three home runs. More impressively, though, were his 16 walks in only 71 plate appearances, which helped him finish the month with a .449 on-base percentage and .911 OPS. He managed only four singles in his final 43 at-bats of the year after that, but his showing in the Gulf Coast League was a beneficial first step to his career.
Thon has improved his pitch recognition considerably and possesses above-average plate discipline. He projects to have some pop in his bat, but he understands that the power will come naturally once he fills out his frame and consistently finds the right pitch to hit. He’s an above-average hitter with good bad speed and projects to be the kind of hitter managers want at the top of their lineup, as he can be both aggressive and extremely patient at the plate when needed.
A gifted overall athlete, Thon played basketball and volleyball in high school while playing baseball, and his natural athleticism shows in the defensive side of his game. He’s never flashy, but makes some of the harder plays look routine and he has the ability to be an above-average defender with an above-average arm. His good footwork and positioning complement his soft hands, and he has inherited incredible baseball instincts from his father that help him as well, especially when reading the ball off of the bat.
Expected 2012 Team: Bluefield Blue Jays (Rookie)
Ultimate ceiling if he puts it all together: Everyday MLB shortstop
Having played just 45 games and missed significant development time since being drafted in 2010, it’s likely that the Jays will keep Thon in extended spring training this year and have him report to another short season club, likely Bluefield or even Vancouver since the team already likes what they see in the 20-year-old. Thon is still considered quite raw, but a strong year from start to finish could work wonders for him in 2013.
“He is coming off a tough year, but he’s worked real hard to put himself in good position,” Thons’s father said in a recent interview with Examiner.com. “He’s going to keep trying to prove himself.”