Tomas played in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, hitting .375 in over 16 at-bats in six games. He had two home runs and 13 RBIs while playing the outfield for the Cuban team.
In June 2014, Tomas defected from Cuba at the age of 23. Looking to add a power hitter to their lineup, the D-backs signed Tomas to a six-year contract in November.
Tomas began play this past Spring Training making a transition to playing third base. He started this season at Triple-A Reno, playing five games with the Aces before being promoted to the Major League club on April 15, 2015.
With the exception of brief appearances at first base, left field and right field, Tomas played third most of the time with Jake Lamb out with an injury. Since the D-backs traded Mark Trumbo to Seattle on June 3, Tomas has primarily been starting in right field.
It is very difficult to evaluate a player in the midst of a transition from playing baseball in Cuba to playing baseball at the Major League level.
Tomas entered his new environment with the reputation of being a power hitter that could add a needed power dimension to the D-backs. He is strong enough to oblige.
From March through May I believe Tomas carried his struggles learning how to play third base with him to home plate. His early plate appearances this season seemed tentative and almost defensive. He appeared eager not to fail. He took numerous called third strikes, looking baffled at breaking balls and fooled at pitch sequencing. His pitch recognition was not good.
When the calendar turned to May it seemed like something changed in Tomas' approach. He began finding success and hit more drives to center field. His batting average soared. Previously his uppercut swing resulted in most balls being hit to the right side of the diamond. That has changed. His power is beginning to show in the form of gap doubles, with many of them to center field and right-center. He is quicker through the ball.
To date, home run power has not been evident
It was difficult for Tomas to make the transition from the outfield to third base. Normally a center fielder in Cuba, Tomas had difficulty adjusting to the speed of the game and the nuances of playing third. His reaction time was slow and unnatural. He looked uncomfortable and stiff. His range looked limited.
As the days and weeks passed, his play at third base has improved. Still not accomplished at reacting quickly to shots hit his way, he is now much more aware of the footwork and reaction needed to play the position. He has improved.
Tomas has shown ability to hit for average. He has also flashed some good speed, especially for a man his size. As he has shown already, he can steal some bases.
Tomas has a strong arm that he can use in the outfield as well as third base.
Tomas still does not look comfortable or natural at third base. He needs much more training, coaching and repetition. He has the ability to continue to improve.
I think his home run power will come, but his bat lags through the ball a bit and he doesn't use his pull side to his advantage. That, too, will improve.
I FIND THIS INTERESTING:
When Tomas began playing baseball at the age of 17 in Cuba, the average age of his teammates was 25.
It remains to be seen if Tomas can play steady, reliable and Major League level third base. With a deep, talented and crowded outfield, the club will have some decisions to make when Lamb returns. Where does Tomas play? Time will tell.
TOMAS IN A WORD: