Here is a look back at the Mud Hens’ 2011 team, player by player, focusing on players who spent a majority of the season in Toledo. The “numbers” and “notes” are facts; the “analysis” and “crystal ball” are thoughts and feelings. So here we go …
BY THE NUMBERS: Thomas spent all of last season with the Mud Hens, hitting .251 with 12 home runs and 53 RBIs. He scored 37 runs and finished with 20 stolen bases (and was caught stealing just three times). Thomas also drew 32 walks and struck out 130 times.
NOTES AND LEADERS: Thomas led the Mud Hens in stolen bases and was third in both home runs and RBIs. He also finished second on the team in strikeouts. Defensively, Thomas tied for fourth-best in the International League with 12 outfield assists.
ANALYSIS: Thomas had an up-and-down season at the plate, batting under .200 until a hot streak in mid-May, then hovering between .210-.230 until a late-season rush allowed him to finish above .250 for the year. Unfortunately, the strikeouts were consistent at roughly one per game all season long. Defensively Thomas remained a plus-fielder, especially in rightfield.
THE CRYSTAL BALL: Thomas turned 28 earlier this month, so the clock is ticking. He has the ability to play in the majors, which he has shown in stints with the Tigers in both 2008 and ’09. He remains on the 40-man roster, and if that continues he will be given a chance to make Detroit’s roster in the spring. Those making their plans for the Tigers’ roster in 2012 would be wise to not forget Thomas, since he gives Detroit a lot of things it would want in a back-up outfielder: He bats left-handed, has both speed and power, and is a solid defensive replacement for all three outfield positions.
Click here to read a report on all of the Mud Hens -- from Below to Worth -- from 2011, assessing the season each player had as well as their future.