SHANKS: Can you tell me a bit about how long you had scouted Beau Jones?
THOMAS: Pretty much since the beginning of the year. We started last fall and through the spring we had a chance to really watch Beau. I've pretty much been following since before the season got started.
SHANKS: Tell me a little bit about Beau?
THOMAS: He's the type of guy that has charisma about him and players just want to be around him. He's a carefree guy. He's selfless. He's a competitor. He has a very laid-back attitude. He just wants to be the best. He's just the type of guy that you want to have on your team.
SHANKS: So he's got that magic word – makeup?
THOMAS: Makeup. Solid makeup. He's a coach's dream. He's got great character. He works hard on the field. He really goes after it. He gives 100% every time he steps on the mound.
SHANKS: Baseball America said that scouts were a bit concerned about his laid-back nature. Were you?
THOMAS: He's laid back off the field, but when he's on the field he's a spark plug. He lights it up when the game is on the line. He just steps it up on a whole other level. When the game starts, he shifts into another gear. And that's something I like about him. He knows when to step it up and knows how to be laid back when you're off the field.
SHANKS: Roy Clark believed he was one of the best lefties in the country.
THOMAS: Since I didn't have a chance to go around the country and see all the left-handed pitchers it's difficult, but from what I've seen just looking at the guys in my area he's a kid that has all the tools to be one of the best, if not the best in the country. From what I've seen this is the type of guy that we're going to be glad we've got in our organization. I could see him really being a front-line starter in the Atlanta Braves organization.
SHANKS: Tell me about his stuff.
THOMAS: His fastball I got at about 89-93. He'll pitch at 90-91 consistently. He's got a nice, hard breaking ball with a downward break. His slider had a nice, sharp break. His change has nice sinking action with deception. His arm speed never changed on any of those pitches, so he's a guy that is going to be able to use any one of those pitches.
SHANKS: Is his curve his best breaking ball?
THOMAS: I would go more toward his slider. I think that's going to be more of his out pitch.
SHANKS: Physically, what's his size?
THOMAS: He's about 6'2" and 205.
SHANKS: How long have you been with the Braves organization?
THOMAS: This is going on five years now.
SHANKS: You know the kind of high school pitchers they go after, so does Beau fit that mold perfectly?
THOMAS: He fits it. An arm strength guy, high ceiling, and it all goes back to the makeup and the character of the kid. So he's the type of young kid we love to have in our organization. I'm so glad we got a chance to get him.
SHANKS: Did he grow up a Braves fan being from Louisiana?
THOMAS: Yes he did. The family is pretty much Braves fans. Being close to Atlanta they've been following the Braves ever since he was a kid. So that's a dream come true for him and the family that Atlanta is right up the street so they'll be able to come see him anytime. That's another plus.
SHANKS: And that really helps you covering Louisiana and Mississippi, doesn't it?
THOMAS: Oh gosh. That's the great thing about being an Atlanta Braves scout when you walk on the field everybody seems to follow the Atlanta Braves. That's a great feeling when you walk on a ballpark.
SHANKS: Did you have any other second day draftees for us to look out for?
THOMAS: There's a kid that we drafted as a draft and follow out of Meridian Community College. His name is a Louis Coleman. He's a high school pitcher from a smaller high school (in Greenwood, Mississippi). He's 6'4" and 180 pounds. He has a chance to be an outstanding pitcher in the near future, so I'm glad we drafted him as a draft and follow that possibly could be signed next year.
Bill Shanks has a new book out on baseball scouting and player development called Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team. Bill can be reached at email@example.com.
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