Q&A with Tony Thomas

Second baseman Tony Thomas's 2008 season continued well after that of many other Cubs prospects. After Thomas, 22, concluded his first full year in pro ball at Class High-A Daytona, he played into the month of November, appearing in 30 games in Hawaii Winter Baseball.

Thomas finished the season at Daytona batting .266 with 30 doubles, 43 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 113 games atop the order. He went on to play in Hawaii and hit .223, seeing playing time at second base and shortstop.

InsideTheIvy.com recently caught up with Thomas, the Cubs' third-round pick from Florida State in the 2007 draft, and asked him if shortstop was in his future and whether he felt he improved his prospect status in Hawaii among other things.

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The last few months have been kind of exciting for you in the sense that you got to play in Hawaii. Is there really ever an offseason for you?

TONY THOMAS: I'm enjoying it. Right now, I like being home and relaxing. Hawaii was an amazing trip. It was a privilege just being invited, and I had a blast playing ball.

Do you feel Hawaii afforded you the opportunity to improve your game?

TONY THOMAS: I think it did. There were a lot of talented guys out there and … I think I showed that I could compete with the best of the best. Other team's prospects saw it. I think I did well overall.

What are some things you learned in Hawaii; some things you worked on there?

TONY THOMAS: Mainly it was a lot about work ethic. It's hard to have somebody that hasn't seen you the whole season all of a sudden come in and teach you. Everybody was open with one another with the coaches and with your teammates as well.

Your season in Daytona, you were an All-Star. A lot of people would say you had an up-and-down year. Were you pleased with the way your first full season in pro ball ended?

TONY THOMAS: I definitely am pleased. I think it was a good experience, especially staying [at the top of the order] the whole season. There was great competition we were playing around. I enjoyed the whole atmosphere and I think overall I did pretty well there.

Did you feel any pressure having skipped past Peoria and going from short-season ball into High-A?

TONY THOMAS: Not really. Regardless of where they put me, I was still going to have to play the game. Whether they put me in Daytona or Peoria, I still have to go out and perform.

Getting on base, stealing bases and generally being a tough out has always been your game. Did your approach change any last year?

TONY THOMAS: I don't try to do the same approach really, but mainly in the leadoff position I was just trying to get on base and trying to work the count. That's one of the main things that I tried to (work) into my game this past season.

What about stolen bases? How much attention do you pay to them as a leadoff hitter?

TONY THOMAS: I definitely pay attention to them because every time I get on base, [pitchers are] constantly looking over. I was pleased with them and I'd definitely like to see the numbers go up. But I think in my first full season against pro ball competitors, I did pretty well in that area.

In Hawaii, you got some reps at shortstop. Is playing short something we might can expect from you in the future, or was the playing time something the Waikiki team kind of imposed?

TONY THOMAS: I'm not sure that that's what [the Cubs] are looking for from me. They asked me if I could and I told them I could play the position mainly because whatever got me in the lineup, I would play just to get on the field. I think it just came down to us not really having the personnel or the depth on the team.

We still have a ways to go before spring training, but have you thought about what level you'll be at next year?

TONY THOMAS: I'm not trying to think about where they're going to put me because if I let that bother me, then if I don't get to the level I want to go I'll be disappointed and worried about that instead of playing the game. They're going to put me where they believe I belong and I trust their decisions wherever they put me, so I'm just going to go out and play and perform. I know that if I get the job done, I'll end up where I want to go eventually.

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