Name: Brandon Thomas
Handedness: Throws RH, switch hitter
Draft: 8th round in the 2013 MLB draft.
Size: 6-foot-3, 180-pounds
Best Tool: Power and speed combo
BBDP Rank: unranked
Every year the Yankees draft a few college seniors in the first 10 rounds of the draft. Sometimes, they are players like Robert Refsnyder and Peter O’Brien, who have a ton of potential. Other times they are clearly organizational filler. His 2014 numbers may lead you to a certain premature conclusion about him, but Brandon Thomas is closer to Refsnyder and O’Brien than he is to organizational filler.
Brandon Thomas was actually drafted in the fourth round of the 2012 draft by the Pirates. He had a decent season in 2013 for Georgia Tech, but was sapped of his power by a two week bout of mononucleosis. Upon his arrival in Staten Island, he had some lingering effects from that and his numbers were not as good as anyone had hoped.
Just how bad were the numbers? Well, in 280 plate appearances Thomas had a .214/.318/.337/.655 quad slash. He had 90 strikeouts in just 66 games, and he walked 30 times. He did manage to hit six homeruns and steal nine bases, but the season was nothing if not disappointing for Thomas.
Now that we have the bad news out of the way, the rest of this profile is going to give you an idea of why none of the above statistics matter when it comes to Thomas.
Thomas, at 6-foot-3, is a big boy. He has shown over his college career that he is capable of translating that size into significant power. Aside from that he is actually an excellent contact hitter who generally emphasizes contact. That did not seem to show up in his first season with the Yankees, as evidenced by his 90 strikeouts. This is likely to change in the future.
On the base paths Thomas has decent wheels. He has enough speed to stick in centerfield and he has a good reputation for stealing bases in college.
In the outfield, Thomas needs a little work on his routes but he’s got the speed necessary to stay up the middle long term. He’s got an above average to plus arm for the position.
All in all, Thomas has all five of the tools you look for in a centerfielder. None of his tools are in the plus range, but all are above average. Last year he was unable to translate that into success. 2014 could be different though, as he has had all off-season to recover his power and energy from his bout with mono.
Thomas has a decent ceiling. He has the tools to be a starting centerfielder in the majors. He’s gonna have to really step it up soon to have any shot at reaching that ceiling, as he’s already 22 years old and should be dominating the lower levels of the minors. His floor is easy to predict given his lack of success in 2013. Bust city. He is a long shot to reach his ceiling but a big year in 2014 would go a long way.
In 2014 he’ll start the year in Charleston. If he’s able to turn himself around he’ll take a similar path to Refsnyder and Peter O’Brien. If he’s ever going to make it to the majors he’ll make it there by 2016. I have big expectations for Thomas in 2014. My prediction is that his output will be much more impressive this year. The power should be better, and the contact should be worlds ahead of 2013. Thomas could easily be one of those guys who comes out of nowhere in 2014.