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Ian Thomas makes Braves Opening Day roster

Ian Thomas Braves

The York Revolution is proud to announce that Ian Thomas, a member of the 2012 Revolution, has made the Atlanta Braves 25-man roster out of Spring Training. The sixth-year pro will make his Major League debut for Atlanta out of the bullpen. The news was confirmed by Diakon Baseball Group, Thomas’s representation.

Thomas, 26, becomes the fifth former Revolution player to reach the Major Leagues, the fourth straight pitcher of that group, and will be the second former Rev to make his MLB debut (LHP Scott Rice, 2013 Mets).

A native of Virginia Beach, VA, Thomas pitched collegiately at Division I Virginia Commonwealth University, before turning pro with the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the Northern League following his senior season in 2009. Thomas would remain with Winnipeg through the 2011 season, the season that club shifted to the American Association.

Thomas excelled in Winnipeg, posting a 2.04 ERA in 82 relief appearances in three seasons over 128 innings. He struck out an impressive 148 in that time, drawing the attention of York in the top-level Atlantic League. Thomas was even more superb in his time with the Revolution, allowing just one earned run in seven appearances over 9.1 innings, for a 0.96 ERA. Atlanta quickly took notice and purchased Thomas’s contract from York on May 17, 2012.

He would finish the 2012 season at Class A Rome in the South Atlantic League, before skipping A-Advanced, beginning 2013 at Double-A Mississippi in the Southern League. In the second half of the 2013 season, the organization shifted Thomas to starter, a role in which he also thrived, even starting and winning a game for Mississippi in the Southern League Playoffs. He ended 2013 with 39 appearances, 13 starts, and a 2.76 ERA in 104 innings with 123 strikeouts and just 37 walks.

That effort earned Thomas a spot in Major League Spring Training for the first time in February as a non-roster invitee. Back in a bullpen role, he established quickly that another jump in competition would not be too big for him. In 11 appearances in MLB spring training games, Thomas allowed just three earned runs for a 2.61 ERA, he struck out 13 and held batters to just a .194 average in exhibition action.

Garnering an invite to MLB camp without Triple-A time is accomplishment enough. Few non-40 man roster invitees reach Opening Day 25-man rosters out of camp across baseball, making Thomas’s accomplishment exponentially more impressive. For the second time in his career he is skipping an entire level of the Atlanta’s minor league system.

Thomas joins previous Revolution Major Leaguers Tike Redman ’07 (OF 2007 Orioles), Justin Hampson ’10 (LHP 2012 Mets), Shawn Hill (RHP 2012 Blue Jays) and Scott Rice (LHP 2013-14 Mets). With several other alums under contact with other MLB organizations that number will be growing shortly.

-Paul Braverman

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