Q&A with Tony Thomas

Second baseman Tony Thomas rocketed up the draft charts by piecing together a .430 batting average this past season at Florida State en route to becoming the Cubs' third-round draft pick.

After signing with the Cubs earlier this week, the 21-year-old Thomas reported to Mesa, Ariz., for the start of his pro career.

Through three games, Thomas has gone 3-for-11 with four RBIs, all the while showing off his plus speed with a pair of triples against Arizona League pitching and scoring all five times he has reached base.

Cubs Scouting Director Tim Wilken recently explained what the club saw from Thomas as a hitter at FSU to warrant a third-round selection.

"I think he's an extra base hit hitter and you may see more pop from him down the road, though that's not what we got him for," Wilken said of Thomas. "He's got a very non-complicated swing and he made some adjustments with his stance. He hits the ball with good authority. He's under control, pretty selective, and he can dial up on velocity."

In the field, Thomas committed 10 errors with the Seminoles this past season for a .968 fielding percentage.

"I think he's got a chance to be a solid fielder," Wilken said. "He's got some things to work on there, but he's got plenty of arm to play second."

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This past season was your best yet. What was the secret to your success?

Tony Thomas: The main thing was changing my stance. I opened my stance up quite a bit compared to what I did the first two years and it just slowed everything down for me, and helped me see the ball and recognize pitches a lot sooner. The confidence level and being around the game at that level for a while just put me in a comfort level and in a relaxed state.

Did you see envision yourself going in the top five rounds?

Tony Thomas: There was a rumor, but definitely going into the season, I never expected to (go) top-five rounds. Being drafted in the top five rounds is dream-fulfilling and a step toward what I want to do for the rest of my life.

What are your impressions of the AZL so far?

Tony Thomas: I've been enjoying it. I'm out here living my dream and playing baseball for a living. It's a great feeling.

What have you been working on since you got to Mesa?

Tony Thomas: Right now, I'm just trying to make consistent, solid contact. I've still got to work on the little things I worked on in college.

It's obviously still early, but how do you feel you've handled the adjustment to wooden bats, and how much experience did you have with them previously?

Tony Thomas: I played the last two summers with wooden bats. The first year I was in the Valley and last year I was in the Cape, both of which are great, competitive leagues. Swinging is not the problem; it's just finding the sweet spot on the bat because it's a lot smaller than aluminum. Consistently working on finding that sweet spot is what I'm working on right now.

The Cubs imply that you've got some work to do defensively. Would you say it's anything out of the ordinary?

Tony Thomas: It's mainly been about just working on my range. The game is a lot faster and the balls are hit a lot harder.

Have you met with (Cubs Minor League Infield Coordinator) Bobby Dickerson yet to go over defensive strategies and pointers?

Tony Thomas: Yeah, I've met with him (Wednesday) and again (Thursday).


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