Saints Sign Former National Player of the Year, Third Round Draft Pick, Infielder Tony ThomasST. PAUL, MN February 22, 2016
SAINTS SIGN FORMER NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR, THIRD ROUND DRAFT PICK, INFIELDER TONY THOMAS
ST. PAUL, MN (February 22, 2016) – With four instrumental players from the record breaking 2015 season gone after their contracts were purchased by Major League organizations this past off-season, the St. Paul Saints are looking to restock for their second season at CHS Field. Their first major signing was a big one getting former Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year and third round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs, infielder Tony Thomas.
The 29-year-old Thomas spent last season at Double-A for the Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox organizations. Between the three teams he hit .249 with nine home runs and 47 RBI in 94 games. In 329 at bats he scored 38 runs, roped 20 doubles, four triples, had a .307 on base percentage and a .416 slugging percentage. He was named the Eastern League Batter of the Week for the week of July 6-13 with the Erie Sea Wolves (Tigers) going 12-26 with three doubles, a home run and five RBI. The day before the week started Thomas clubbed a grand slam as part of a three hit, four RBI day.
“Tony is a veteran player that has played at the Double-A and Triple-A levels for several years,” said Saints manager George Tsamis. “We think he will be very valuable for us as he can player anywhere in the infield and outfield."
In 2007, during his junior season at Florida State University, Thomas’ draft stock skyrocketed when he was named Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s co-National Player of the Year, along with left-handed pitcher David Price. He was also selected Player of the Year by Rivals.com. Thomas hit .430 with 11 home runs and 50 RBI while stealing 31 of 36 in 62 games. He became the first player in the history of FSU to record 30 doubles, 100 hits and 30 stolen bases in a season. He led all of college baseball in runs, doubles and total bases.
The Cubs selected him in the third round of the June First-Year Player Draft and, after a handful of games in the Arizona League, he was promoted to the Boise Hawks of the Rookie League. He hit .308 with five home runs and 33 RBI in 46 games and finished first in the Northwest League in stolen base percentage (.933), tied for first in triples (8), second in stolen bases (28), third in slugging (.544) and seventh in average. His season was highlighted by a 15 game hitting streak from July 31-August 15 and a four stolen base performance on August 3. Thomas was selected as a Baseball America Short Season All-Star.
Thomas’ incredible 2007 season got him promoted to High-A Daytona in 2008 where he had another solid season and was selected to the Florida State League All-Star Game. He finished the season as the top fielding second baseman in the league with a .989 fielding percentage. The 2008 year began a string of five consecutive seasons that his team would reach the playoffs as the Cubs claimed the FSL title. He led all playoff participants with a .483 average and was tied for first with eight RBI while being named the FSL Championship Series MVP.
In 2009 at Double-A Tennessee Thomas was once again selected as a mid-season All-Star in the Southern League. In just the second game of the season Thomas had his first career two homer game and tied his career high with five RBI. On June 20 he was part of a 5-4-3 triple play while playing second base at home against the Carolina Mudcats.
Thomas’ final season with the Cubs organization, in 2010, was one of his best of his career. He spent the entire season at Tennessee and hit .276 with 11 home runs and 73 RBI while stealing 15 of 17 bags in 116 games. He was selected an MiLB.com Organizational All-Star for the Cubs and finished the season first in fielding percentage among second baseman (.973), tied for second in triples (11) and fourth in slugging (.485). He also reached base safely in 19 consecutive games from June 3-23 and tied for the second longest road hitting streak in the Southern League with 14 from June 3-July 8.
On February 15, 2011 Thomas was traded to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for right-handed pitcher Robert Coello. He spent most of the season at Triple-Pawtucket. In his very first at bat at Triple-A he hit a grand slam en route to a five RBI game. Two days later he matched the feat with another grand slam, hitting as many grand slams in three days as he had in his entire baseball career dating back to high school.
Thomas won his second championship in 2012 at Triple-A Pawtucket taking home the International Championship. Pawtucket would lose in the Triple-A Championship Game, a one game showdown between the International League and Pacific Coast League, to the Reno Aces.
In 2014 Thomas was signed as a free agent by the Minnesota Twins and played the entire season at Double-A New Britain where he hit a career high 12 home runs and was a mid-season All-Star in the Eastern League and an MiLB.com Organization All-Star.
The Saints have signed four players this off-season, three position players and one pitcher.
The 2016 season begins on Thursday, May 19 at CHS Field with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Gary SouthShore Railcats.