Blue Jays Top-30 Prospects: Honorable mentions, part one
2B Lane Thomas
20 years old – 6’1″, 210 pounds
Drafted: Round 5 (144), 2014
Consider second baseman Lane Thomas to be in the just-barely-missed category, as well. Like Smoral, 2016 could be a big year for the former High School outfielder and pitcher. While the reports I’ve read and footage I’ve seen don’t represent the smoothest plate approach, he does have some tantalizing offensive potential.
I do like the power upside of Thomas’ game, and scouts seem impressed with his ability to put the barrel on the ball. He’s also listed at 210 pounds now, up a good amount from his draft year, so when combined with his raw athletic talents (which are impressive), there’s reason for optimism.
This past season between Vancouver and Lansing, Thomas posted a cumulative slash line of .206 / .244 / .353 over 52 games, having a far more difficult time at the plate in his nine games with the Canadians. In an equal sample size of games in his first pro season of 2014, Thomas managed a .281 average with nine stolen bases and 27 walks. He managed just 11 free passes in 2015, so that’s got to bounce back. Watch for him to develop as more of a baserunning threat this year, too, if given more opportunities.
Part of his struggles in 2015 could be attributed to the fact that he underwent a change in positions. After leaving the High School ranks primarily as an outfielder, he split the 2014 season between centre field (20 games) and third base (25 games). This year, however, he transitioned full time to second base.
His athleticism gives him a strong foundation to work with in the field, so it will be interesting to watch how committed the Blue Jays become to one position with Thomas. If he’s able to realize a level of offensive potential, some utility ability may work to push him over the hump as he climbs through the minor league system.
Next: Next up, a small-but-mighty outfield sleeper in Lansing