Toronto Blue Jays 2015 Top Prospect Wrap up: Lane Thomas


Drafted as outfielder, 20-yrs-old Lane Thomas fully committed to 2nd base in 2015.

Lane Thomas started his season with the Vancouver Canadians, playing 43 games. On August 10th, Lane got assigned to the Lansing Lugnuts playing in 9 games before ending his season on August 24th, landing on the disabled list.

Robert Emrich of boldly picked the product of Knoxville, Tennessee as a 2015’s Under-the-Radar Prospect in an article forecasting potential prospects expected to have break out seasons.

Here what he had to say about Lane Thomas,

"Armed with a solid bat and good speed, Thomas is an intriguing player to watch, especially as he fills out a bit. An outfielder in high school, Thomas doesn’t turn 20 until Aug. 23. The Blue Jays have started the process of trying him at second base and the 2014 fifth-round pick spent time at third base and center field last season as a pro, when he batted .281 while drawing 27 walks and smacking 17 extra-base hits in 52 games between the Gulf Coast League and the Appalachian League.–Robert Emrich"

In 2 seasons in the Jays organization, Lane Thomas, blessed with a quick swing, has yet to hit consistently or show the ‘solid bat and good speed’ which Robert Emrich referred to. Thomas managed to produce modest power numbers between Lo-A Lansing and Short-Season A-ball Vancouver, hitting 5 home runs and 15 extra base hits between levels. He produced ISO of .166 with Vancouver and .057 in only 9 games in Lansing.

His poor .244 and .160 BABIP numbers suggest that luck wasn’t on his side, but the many infield outs suggests that Lane wasn’t barreling up the ball nearly enough.

Lane’s power is to the pull side, hitting all 5 of his home runs to left field and almost all his doubles.

Mandatory Credit:

Even his outs cluster on the pull side, as illustrated by the heat map below.

Mandatory Credit:

Thomas hit better against RHP than LHP, hitting .237 versus RHP and .196 versus LHP. During his time in Vancouver Thomas consistently batted at the top of the order, splitting time batting 3rd (12GP) and 4th (13GP); however, he had the most success (.375) in his 7 games in the 2-hole.

More from Toronto Blue Jays Prospects

Thomas batted .149 in 12 June starts, hitting 2 home runs and 2 doubles. July saw Lane increase his BA over 60 points, hitting .212 in 27 games with 10 doubles, and 2 more home runs. He hit .245 with 4 doubles and a home run in only 13 August starts.

Overall Lane Thomas produced below league average with .295 wOBA and 80wRC+ in Vancouver, seeing these number fall even more in Lansing with .177 wOBA and 5 wRC+. Lane’s control of the strike zone was poor in 2015, walking 4.4% and striking out 18.6% of the time in short season A-ball.

Thomas’ 2015 stats

In the field Thomas played 45 games at 2nd base, finishing with 20 errors, 32 double plays, 4.80 RangeFactor, and .915fld%. The games I watched, he looked to be pressing, like he wasn’t letting the game come to him.

Prognosis for 2016

Lane has the talent and age to turn things around. It appears management is willing to challenge the youngster with promotions despite his numbers, evidence by a late season promotion to the playoff bound Lugnuts. Thomas will assume the starting 2nd base role for the 2016 Lansing Lugnuts.

Next: Catching Up With Jon Berti

Thomas has the time he needs to figure out how to get into more hitters counts and start using the entire fielder. There aren’t many middle infielders to challenge him, unless Gunnar Heidt and  JC Cardenas are converted to 2nd or Deiferson Barreto makes short work of the Northwest League.