TAHNAJ THOMAS, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: June 16, 1999
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2016, Cleveland Indians
How Acquired: Trade (with Indians for Jordan Luplow and Max Moroff)
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Thomas is a very projectable pitcher with good stuff. He’s exceptionally athletic and has only limited experience on the mound. At the time the Pirates acquired him, when he was still 19, he threw a 92-95 mph fastball, an above-average slider and a change. By 2019, though, he was sitting in the upper-90s and reaching triple digits. Several prospect evaluators rated him, at the time of the trade, as one of the top 30 prospects in a deep Indians’ system.
Thomas appeared in three games in the DSL, then moved up to rookie ball. He mostly started, but only pitched three or fewer innings at a time. He obviously struggled, mainly due to control problems.
The Indians sent Thomas back to rookie ball. He didn’t see a lot of action, but he made considerable progress, pitching better than the ERA indicates.
Pitching as a starter for Bristol, Thomas got off to a rocky start. He recorded only five outs in his first two starts, mainly due to poor control. From that point on, he dominated, including surprisingly good control. Oddly, he had a reverse platoon split, with a .746 opponents’ OPS against right-handed hitters and just .500 against left-handed hitters. That may say something about his progress with the change.
The Pirates moved Thomas up to Greensboro, which was an ambitious jump. He struggled with his control for the first six weeks, walking over a batter an inning. The Pirates sent him to extended spring training for about three weeks to work on things. After he returned, his control was much better, but he didn’t dominate the way he should given his stuff. He had trouble with gopher balls at the home park, allowing ten there and only three on the road. He had only a minimal platoon split.
Thomas made a lot of progress with Altoona. After stuggling in May, giving up eight earned runs in seven innings, he went the rest of the way with a 1.98 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 10.2 K/9. On the season, he cut his walk rate to slightly better than league average. He had only a slight platoon split.
Thomas looks like he could help the Pirates at some point in 2023. He’s eligible for Rule 5 again. The Pirates have lots of roster decisions to make in the off-season, although it shouldn’t be all that difficult. They have plenty of relievers with some upside who need roster spots, and a legion of sub-replacement, no-upside veterans who are on the roster.
|2023: Minor League Contract|
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2017
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2023
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2021
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|December 5, 2016: Signed by the Cleveland Indians as an international free agent.
November 14, 2018: Traded by the Cleveland Indians with Erik Gonzalez and Dante Mendoza for Jordan Luplow and Max Moroff.