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Ian Thomas traded by Braves to Dodgers

Thomas, Ian 9

Former Revolution reliever Ian Thomas (’12), who was recalled by the Atlanta Braves from Triple-A Gwinnett for the second time this season on May 22, is on the move again.  This time though, he’ll be traveling a little further than within Georgia.

Thomas has been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with infielder Alberto Callaspo, and pitchers Eric Stults and Juan Jaime.  In return the Dodgers are sending infielder Juan Uribe to Atlanta along with reliever Chris Withrow.  The swap of veteran infielders is the headliner, with the pitchers providing the dressing on this six-player deal.

Thomas’s time with the Braves comes to an end having pitched in 21 Major League games over two seasons.  After making the Braves big league roster last season out of spring training, pitching on opening day, and whiffing Bryce Harper for his first MLB strikeout, Thomas went back and forth twice to Triple-A.  In 16 big league games last season, he struck out an impressive 13 in just 10.2 innings of work as a match-up lefty.  After beginning this season in the minors, in his two call-ups he’s pitched in five games for the Braves, striking out five in 5.1 innings, holding opposing batters to just a .222 average.  In 16 Major League innings, Thomas has allowed just one home run, struck out 18 and posted a 3.94 ERA.  Opponents have hit .241 against him as a big leaguer.

Should Thomas wind up at Triple-A Oklahoma City with the Dodgers, he’d be teammates of several players with Atlantic League connections.  Pitcher P.J. Walters (Lancaster ’15) was picked up by the Dodgers earlier this season and sent there, and former Revolution IF/OF Brian Burgamy (’13) was recently promoted to OKC from Double-A Tulsa.  Pitcher Mickey Storey (Somerset ’15) was also recently inked by the Dodgers off the Patriots roster.

Overall, this has to be viewed as a positive for Thomas.  While the Braves certainly gave him a fair shake to compete at the big league level, considering he wasn’t one of their draft picks and didn’t join the organization until he was 25 in 2012, the fact the Dodgers wanted him demonstrates he still has plenty of potential for an extended big league career at age 28.  It also shows Thomas was a player other organizations thought enough of to continue to scout as a pro.  Hopefully the transaction leads to an extended and uninterrupted stretch in the Majors for Thomas, rather than being the swing guy out of the bullpen between Triple-A and the bigs as he was for the Braves.

Thomas was essentially un-hittable in the minors this season with the Braves; in nine relief appearances he did not allow a run, surrendering only five (!) hits in 15.2 innings.  In that time he struck out 20 (!!), allowing just one (!!!) walk.  When you dominate Triple-A hitters like that, I’d say it’s time for an extended look in the Majors to find out just what kind of player he can be at that level.  Once Thomas throws his first pitch for Los Angeles, he’ll become the first former Rev to play in the Majors for two organizations.

-Paul Braverman

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