Biggest Letdown: Cody Thomas (OF)-
Unfortunately, this “award” isn’t much of an award. However a silver-lining does exist. The expectations for Cody Thomas at this year’s AFL were very high, especially after his best pro-season, with AA-Tulsa.
A lefty-hitting outfielder with enticing power, plus speed, that any GM would love to see, Thomas was drafted by the Dodgers in 2016. Hailing from Oklahoma University, Thomas has the prototypical 5-tool body, long and lean, 6’4” and 211 lbs.
Predicted to possibly be a perennial 20/20+ hitter with the skills to hit from .250 AVG-.270 AVG. An excellent defender with great instincts and an arm that backs-up his right field landing spot. With such lofty expectations, hopefully one can understand why Thomas’s season at the AFL was, indeed, a letdown.
Through 18 games, Thomas hit for a measly .161 AVG, with an even worse .477 OPS, which landed him at forth worst in the AFL for season OPS. Therefore, Cody Thomas had a .194 SLG% and an OBP of .284. His 62 AB’s ended with only 7 walks but he managed to strikeout 23 times.
Try to keep in mind the short-season architecture of the AFL. For a big leaguer, 62 AB’s is but a blip in a storm cloud of time. Thomas is young, talented, projectable and his collegiate pedigree is top-notch.
Such qualities, as attributed to Thomas, are the cornerstones of any MLB-ready talent. My prediction is that he bounces back with a swift vengeance after seeing what could possibly await him at the higher levels of baseball.
Longer weight-room sessions, extra time in the cage, on the field (etc.), should all be in Cody Thomas’s plans for the next few months.
The AFL has differing opinions regarding the extra two months of work that players simply do not get when they’re not invited. The pros and cons are numerous, but the experience gained from playing in the AFL is priceless.
Extended numbers of at bats, games, and/or pitching appearances are all requirements of playing in the AFL. Some players are ready for the mental and physical challenges, other’s aren’t.
Elite talent stands in every lineup and/or starting rotation. I predict that Cody Thomas learns from the AFL experience and better prepares himself for the season(s) ahead.
Not only physical conditioning, sometimes more importantly, is mental conditioning as well. These are all virtues that come with hard work, time, repetition, and experience.