If there’s one thing that the Arizona Diamondbacks have been exceptionally good at, it is developing home-grown talent.
A.J. Pollock, Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb, Patrick Corbin and Archie Bradley are all All-Star caliber players that were drafted and developed by the Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks might've found their next home-grown contributor in 2018 second round pick Alek Thomas.
Drafted 63rd-overall out of Mount Carmel, a Chicago prep school, Thomas has gotten off to a red-hot start for the Dbacks.
Thomas was rumored to be in the conversation to go as early as the late first round, with the Royals, Dodgers and Indians all being potential suitors. While there’s no clear reason why Thomas fell, concerns over size (5’11”, 175 pounds) and signability (Thomas was committed to TCU for football and baseball) could have factored in his draft day slide.
However, Thomas signed just a few days after the draft, and was assigned to the Diamondbacks Arizona League Team. At the age of 18, Thomas might've been expected to spend most-to-all of his debut season in Arizona.
In 28 games with the AZL Diamondbacks, Thomas hit at a .325 clip (40 hits in 123 at-bats), driving in ten runs, and walking 13 times to just 18 strikeouts.
Even more impressive was the stellar speed that Thomas showed in those 28 games. Thomas hit five triples (!), and stole eight bases.
Thomas’ all-around production earned him a promotion to the Diamondbacks Pioneer League Team, the Missoula Osprey.
Albeit just a small sample size, but Thomas hasn't missed a beat in his first five games in Missoula, hitting .391 (9 for 23) with three RBIs and just two strikeouts.
Thomas’ pure athleticism makes him more advanced for his age, but nobody expected this out of Thomas in his age-18 season. Thomas could be a quick riser in the Diamondbacks system if he continues to produce at this high of a rate.