Black MiLB Players You Need To Know About #4: Tahnaj Thomas

Background + Path to Professional Baseball

Tahnaj Thomas is a twenty-one-year-old starting pitcher from Freeport, Bahamas. Thomas is a prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization but was signed by the Cleveland Baseball Team in December 2016 as an international amateur free agent, receiving a 200,000 dollar signing bonus. Originally a position player during his amateur career, Thomas was converted into a starting pitcher by the Cleveland Baseball Team after signing and has remained in that role throughout his professional career so far.

Thomas has played three seasons of professional baseball so far, and so far the surface level statistics do not show above-average performance. Despite this, remember that Thomas has only pitched for a small amount of time, and is learning how to pitch against professional opponents. Even with a high ERA, walk rate, and WHIP Thomas is striking batters out at an above-average rate and has shown flashes of dominance, even as a novice.

In 2018, Tahnaj Thomas was a part of a five-player deal that sent him and two other individuals from the Cleveland Baseball Team to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jordan Luplow and Max Moroff. Thomas’ stock has risen since joining the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, and I will explain why in the Player Profile section below.

Player Profile

Tahnaj Thomas is 6'4'’, weighs 190 pounds, and throws right-handed. He throws three pitches from a traditional 3/4ths arm slot: fastball, slider, and changeup.

Thomas’ fastball is his calling card due to its velocity and life as he sits in the high 90s and regularly touches 100 mph with the pitch. Since becoming a professional pitcher, his fastball has improved every season. Thomas’ slider is his most used secondary pitch, and it gets above-average grades for its two-plane break. Thomas’s changeup is his worst pitch, but it is because he is just learning how to pitch and does not have much feel for it yet. Despite being new to pitching, Thomas has clean and consistent mechanics on the mound and can throw strikes. Although he currently has a role as a starter in the minor leagues, there is a chance Thomas could move to the bullpen down the line for a myriad of reasons.

Conclusion

As someone who was an infielder during his amateur career, Tahnaj Thomas has only thrown 100 innings as a pitcher in his entire life, and he’s done that strictly as a professional in Minor League Baseball. The growth and progress he has shown in those 100 innings is a feat in itself. Due to his talent and potential, Thomas is climbing the prospect rankings of various evaluating entities and is making a name for himself in the front offices of organizations. I expect Tahnaj Thomas to start in A-Ball during the upcoming Minor League Baseball season, and I will be watching him closely throughout the year. The sky is the limit for Tahnaj Thomas and the massive amount of development he has shown in such a small period of time is very encouraging for the challenging task he has undertaken.

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