While Tim Thomas led the Boston Bruins to their first Stanley Cup championship in 39 years in May, another Thomas was subtly keeping the PawSox afloat during their slow start to the 2011 season.
Tony Thomas, who was acquired by the Red Sox in a trade for Robert Coelho with the Chicago Cubs, didn’t have much going for him during the start of 2011. He was traded to a system loaded with infield talent — his primary position is second — and in six spring training games with Boston he didn’t register a single hit (0-7).
With his Red Sox career starting the way it did, it appeared he was heading to the same level he ended at in Chicago: Double-A.
He eventually did become part of the Portland Sea Dogs squad (six games); only after he suffered a strained left shoulder, subsequent to being with Pawtucket until mid-July (he returned to Pawtucket and reamined until August, he suffered another injury, a left hand contusion, that ended his season).
Though his slash-line (.218/.278/.366) doesn’t suggest he was an offensive juggernaut in the IL, or merits a call-up to Boston, he did show some pop at the start of the season.
On April 9 against the Buffalo Bisons, Thomas stepped up to the plate for the first time as a PawSox and belted a grand slam en route to a 8-3 PawSox victory.
Two days later on April 11 against Buffalo, he hit another grand slam, this time on this 10th at-bat of the year, in a 15-1 victory for Pawtucket, the biggest margin of victory for the team last year.
Not only did Thomas provide the power during a month that saw Lars Anderson and Daniel Nava crumble — and Ryan Lavarnway was still bashing balls with Portland– he completed a feat that is rarely seen: he hit more grand slams than an entire team did in one season (Pawtucket only had one GS in 2010, Josh Reddick).
“Spurtablity” can describe Thomas’ 2011 campaign with the PawSox, he never showed consistency, but it was his first time in Triple-A.
It seems very unlikely that he will earn a some playing time in Boston this season, as he has to climb over Jose Iglesias and Nate Spears on the depth chart. That shouldn’t hurt the 25-year old as he needs to further develop virtually every aspect of his game, the biggest concern is his strikeout to walk ratio.
He did show some offensive improvement, minus his BB/K, during the winter with Algodoneros de Guasave of the Mexican Pacific League; 26 games, with a slash-line of .225/.314/.427, four homeruns, 13 RBI, 11 walks and 21 strikeouts.
Look for Thomas to have a slight improvement in his power with Pawtucket this season, but the BB/K is still a concern, thus dropping his on-base percentage. It doesn’t help that he might play in less games because of the crowded infield depth.
AVG R H 2B HR RBI BB SO OBP SLG OPS
.217 33 54 16 10 29 15 64 .264 .411 .675
*72 games, 248 at-bats, nine stolen bases, four caught stealing, and one triple, excluded (spacing)
2011 recap and 2012 outlook will be a daily publication, detailing every player who donned a Pawtucket uni in 2011, regardless of current team and level, and his outlook for the upcoming season, from now until the start of the season.
Next up: Tony Pena Jr