TigsTown Q&A: Oneonta Outfielder Clete Thomas

Clete Thomas didn't have the most impressive career at Auburn, 'wow'ing teams with his raw tools, but never fully reaching his potential. The Tigers hope he can do that as a member of the organization, and he's already well on his way there, having won the New York-Penn League's Player of the Week in just his second week on the job. TigsTown's David Laurila caught up with Clete and asked him about his new team and his future as a Tiger.

TigsTown: How have your first weeks of pro ball gone?

Clete Thomas: I'm starting to see the ball well and pick up pitching patterns. The pitching here is different from college, although it's hard to pinpoint exactly what the difference is. Maybe it's more consistently good stuff. But overall, I'm playing pretty well and hopefully I'll keep it going.

TT: What were your expectations coming into the draft?

CT: I had been through it before, so I knew that it was hard to know. I heard high, and I heard low. Basically, I just went with the flow and let it happen. I was a little surprised to go to the Tigers. They hadn't shown a lot of interest before the draft.

TT: Is your future in center field, or in right field where you played in Auburn?

CT: I'm playing centerfield here, and the Tigers took me with that in mind. I'm not really the corner type that will hit 30 or 40 home runs. Not that I won't add power, but I'm more of a speed guy.

TT: According to Baseball America, you pulled the ball more this season in an attempt to hit more home runs. Is that true, and how would you describe your approach at the plate?

CT: I don't really agree that I pulled that much. I'd say half of my home runs were to the opposite field. I'm mostly up there waiting for a good pitch to hit. I probably wasn't patient enough in college, but I can improve on that.

TT: Are your stolen bases more from raw speed, or from good reads and jumps?

CT: A little bit of both. I run a 6.4 or 6.5 sixty, but speed alone won't bring you everywhere. You have to be smart, too. You need a brain on the base paths.

TT: Do you feel Comerica Park is well-suited to your game?

CT: I can see hitting a lot of doubles and triples there, filling the gaps. That and running down balls to prevent doubles and triples.

TT: What do you know about the Detroit Tigers organization?

CT: I know it's a pretty good history. A lot of great players have worn Tiger uniforms, and I hope I can become part of that tradition.

TigsTown wishes Clete and the rest of the Oneonta Tigers a great season. David Laurila, a sportswriter residing in Boston, covers the New York-Penn League for TigsTown.com

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