Former Rev Ian Thomas helps Rome Braves to stunning turnaround
Gotta love minor league baseball. Especially leagues that play two halves, where wiping the slate clean in July gives everyone at least the chance to compete all year long. Last season, it was the Revolution who used a second-half playoff berth as a springboard to their second straight title. This year, after falling just short to Lancaster again, York is following the same blueprint.
But it pales in comparison to what the Rome (GA) Braves of the Class A South Atlantic League have done thus far. When lefty Ian Thomas had his contract purchased by Atlanta on May 17, he was assigned to the worst team in all of professional baseball based on winning percentage when he reported to the Braves Low-A affiliate. Rome finished the Sally League first half an absolutely dreadful 18-52, a robust 29 games out of first. You may remember this post from June about such things.
Thomas himself has been good for Rome out of the bullpen. In 18 games and 32.2 innings, he has a 3.31 ERA, four saves and 43 punch-outs compared to 11 walks, nearly a 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio. He’s been even better over his last 10 appearances; in his lat 19.2 innings pitched his ERA is just 2.29, with three of his four saves, 24 strikeouts and just 4 walks, a 6:1 ratio. His solid effort has helped Rome win 10, yes 10 games in a row. After a down right respectable 16-14 start to the second half, the R-Braves are 26-14 now and lead the SAL Southern Division by five games. With their second half surge, even at 44-66 overall, Rome is in the driver’s seat for a playoff spot if they can win the division’s second half. After an 18-52 start!