Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ottawa Can-Ams: No doubting Thomas, the man can hit

The Ottawa Can-Ams seem to be zeroing in on a 2-hole hitter, lefty outfielder Jeff Thomas, who was mentioned in passing in today's Ottawa Sun.

Thomas played four seasons of college ball under Ottawa manager Tom Carcione at Northern Illinois. He had a good senior season in 2008, putting up a team-high .450 on-base percentage (he OPS'ed .898). He showed good bat control, striking just once every 12 appearances and going all season without grounding into a double play.

The 22-year-old Thomas was the draft-and-follow type, a player whom a team might take in the June draft but not sign, instead watching him sign with an independent league team and seeing how he adjusts to hitting with a wooden bat.

Thomas' college stats have to be taken with a grain of salt due to the use of aluminum bats, but he put those numbers up in March, April and May while playing in a northern climate. Northern Illinois is in the Mid-American Conference with schools in Michigan and Ohio, along with the University of Buffalo. Hitting wit any kind of bat there is tough at the time of the year (and it really stings, speaking from personal experience). Thomas' .450 OBP came in a context where all hitters reached base at around a .370 clip. He probably won't hit for power, but he could be a good tablesetter at either the top or bottom of the order.

Thomas also seems to be a good sport. He had a pregame superstition of eating six Eggo waffles before every game, so he posed for a picture in the the DeKalb (Illi.) Chronicle chowing down.

Can-Am team's roster taking form (Shane Ross, Ottawa Sun)

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