Lane Thomas. The next young Cardinal star?

Photo by Joe Alexander

I thought I would take a look at some of the young kids. One that particularly like is Lane Thomas. His debut into the majors last year was way to short and left many fans me included wanting to see more.

Drafted in 2104 by the Toronto Blue Jays, the Cardinals acquired Thomas July 2, 2017 for international bonus slot money. Primarily a low risk move to add depth.

He moved through Toronto's system from rookie ball to High A with stats that were pretty much pedestrian at best.

2014 Rookie ball, playing in both Gulf Coast and Appalachian leagues with a combined .281/.369/.368 1 HR, 12 2B, 4 3B 19 RBIs in 225 PAs 21.7% SO rate 9 SB in 12 attempts.

2015 playing in A and Low A is the year Lane would like to forget in low A he only manged .225/.257/.391 5 Hrs, 13 2B, 33 RBIs in 183 PAs he did lower his SO rate to 18.5%

he only hit ,114/,184/.171 in 38 PAs

In 2016 after a week in Rookie ball he was back at A ball but results were not anything to jump over fences about .216/.330/.348, 7 HRs, 14 2B, 1 3B, 27 RBIs with a 32.2% SO rate and 17 SB

In 2017 he was promoted to high A. The results were another mixed bag .252/.319/.383 4 Hrs, 12 2B, 6 3B, 38 RBIs in 308 PAs. His SO rate dropped to 27.2% he only played in 9 games for high A Palm Beach after being traded to St Louis.

2018 was a breakout year of sorts. In AA Springfield he not only hit for better average but showed some power as well .260/.337/.487. 21 Hrs, 16 2B, 4 3B, 67 RBIs in 435 PAs. A 23.2 SO % rate. When promoted to AAA Memphis he continued going .275/.321/.496, 6 HRs, 7 2B, 2 3B, 21 RBIs in 140 PAs 23.5% SO rate

In 2019 he picked up where he left off .268/.352/.460, 10 Hrs, 17 2B, 2 3B, 44 RBIs, in 304 PAs. 26.3% SO rate until he was called up.

Fielding wise other than stints at 3B and 2B his numbers are fantastic with only 6 errors in CF in 5 seasons covering 2640.2 innings, 757 chances. 3 seasons in LF 1 error in 329.1 innings, 53 chances. 0 errors over 4 seasons over 169 innings 41 chances in RF. So in 3139 innings in the OF he has committed 7 errors.

When he was called up in 2019 he made the most of his limited opportunity 44 PAs setting .316/.409/.684 4 HR, 1 3B, 12 RBIs, 18.1% SO rate. his play defensively was limited as well 81 innings and only 23 chances. Even given that he made some eye popping chances. He also has shown he has good base running speed.

Thomas is only 24 years old and is not eligible for arbitration until 2023 and FA not until 2026. So he can be a low cost option for at least 3 years. While offensively his 1st 4 seasons in the minors showed very little. What he has done in the last 2 years is showing good promise. I like the hustle he shows when he is on the field and he has a mature hitting approach. I think he definitely gets a legitimate look during Spring Training. If he continues on the progression track he was on last year I can see him making the club. If we don't have Ozuna or if Bader can't get back to an acceptable level I can see Thomas being in the starting line up. I think it is entirely possible he can be a very good player for St Louis. Whether he will develop into the next star remains to be seen.

Although I will say to me it seems like a good use of international bonus money.

Thanks for reading let me know what you think either here or hit me up on twitter @bortas2002


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