Interview with Toronto Blue Jays’ 2015 Draft Pick, Jake Thomas

 Toronto Blue Jays’ Jake Thomas joined Jays From the Couch to discuss being drafted, his first professional season, and some hockey

The Toronto Blue Jays selected outfielder Jake Thomas from the State University of New York at Binghamton (also known as SUNY Binghamton) in the 27th round of the 2015 draft. In doing so, the Blue Jays helped make a lifelong dream come true for the young outfielder.

Thomas excelled during his time with the Binghamton Bearcats winning consecutive America East Tournament title in ’13 and ’14, becoming the all-time school leader in OBP and walks, earning three-First Team All-America East honors while winning the John Bilos Award. Jake also earned a degree in Finance.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4vRD9wCgfg]

Jake credits his parents (Brooks and Linda) for much of his success in life and baseball, as they have provided him with a strong support system and ‘been with [him] every step of the way in every aspect of [his] life.’

The Thomas family are no strangers to athletics, with Brooks playing baseball and football and Linda playing tennis in high school. Like his father, Jake was a multi-sport athlete in high school, playing hockey and football along with baseball.

The native of Merrick, New York, Jake Thomas understandably grew up with dreams of staring on one of his favorite teams: the Rangers, Jets and Yankees, but after being drafted by the Blue Jays, his baseball allegiances have shifted.

In his first professional season, Jake appeared in 47 games for the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays. He continued to show a keen eye at the plate walking 14.5% of the time and striking out 17.6%. He felt the biggest difference between competition he faced in college and the competition he faced in the GCL devotion.

By today’s standards, Thomas can be considered slightly undersized for an outfielder, standing 5’10”. His height doesn’t measure his commitment to the game of baseball, though. Without the distractions of college classes and tests, Jake can devote all his attention to improving as a baseball player.After starting off slow in June (.214) and July (.227), the former catcher really turned it on in August hitting .323. When asked what adjustment he credits for the turn around the confident young man answered,

Honestly not much. The numbers people see may suggest I started off slow but I was hitting the ball on the screws very often and having great at bats. Just a matter of time till hits started falling. I try not to worry about the numbers and focus just on things I can control.

A good baseball answer, that shows a mature understanding of the game.Despite a slow start with the batting average Jake finished with above average .379 wOBA and 137 wRC+, which is a testament to his ability to make good contact and a strong approach at the plate.Thomas spoke very highly about his GCL teammates. When asked about Reggie Pruitt, another late round selection by the Toronto Blue Jays, he had this to say,

 Reggie is a great friend of mind and outstanding player. An all around great player who will only get better

Reggie was taken 3 rounds earlier than Thomas, but the pair face stiff odds of getting to the majors. When questioned about those odds, Jake responded,

[Kevin Pillar] was drafted in the 32nd round and he’s the starting CF. Guys like him inspire and open doors for guys like me

This fan, won’t be the least bit surprised to see Jake Thomas bypass Bluefield and Vancouver and head straight to Lansing in 2016. Jake played a lot of baseball in 2015, appearing in 40 games with Binghamton and 47 games in the GCL, so a jump to full season A-Ball isn’t a stretch.

Jake has spent this off-season coaching kids the game he loves on weekends, and working for First Nationwide Title agency. When he isn’t training future baseball players or gaining valuable experience in finance, Thomas is training and working out for the next challenge.

Five Questions with Jake Thomas

RM: In any sport, favorite past and present player?

JT: Wow. Tough tough one cause every sport I have a favorite player. Aaron Donald is probably my current favorite player. Some of my family is from Pitt and I’m a big Pitt basketball and football fan. What I like the most about him is he is super humble. He is also all business. He was always considered undersized for his position and he has been proving people wrong by his will power and hard work. I feel like I can relate to him in that regard. He’s incredible; won every major defensive award his senior year.

RM: Favorite meal?

JT: Again, damn your tough questions!! I’ll say steak and potatoes. Medium rare is fantastic.

RM: Despite being a life long Blue Jays fan, I have always loved the Oakland A’s home uniforms. Something about the white, green and yellow. What is your favorite sports uniform?

JT: That’s the easiest question you have asked. Throw back Mighty Ducks uniform.

RM: Come on! Like the Emilio Estevez ones?

JT: Hell, yeah! And the purple one.

RM: Favorite hockey player?

JT: Alexei Kovalev and Mario Lemieux.

RM: I always liked Kovalev. Excellent two-way player, like Fedorov. Lemieux was tough to like. He just never seemed like he loved being in the spot light.

JT: Best hockey player ever IMO. Gretzky played in the best offensive era. Played with the best teammates. The Oilers won the cup the year after he left. Just shows how good the team he had around him was, but everyone has their own opinions.

Jays From the Couch will continue to keep a close eye on the 812th pick and wish the 22-yr-old the best of luck for the upcoming season.

*Featured Image Credit: Trevor Pritchard UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0

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Shaun Doyle

Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.