MLB: AZ Diamondbacks Yasmany “El Trueno” Tomas
When the AZ Diamondbacks signed Yasmany “El Trueno” Tomas to a six-year, $68.5 million contract on November 26, 2014, he was regarded as a big-time slugger and MLB ready at the plate. That analysis was based on his professional career in his home country of Cuba. From the age of 17 Tomas played in the Cuban National Series League for the Industriales de La Habana. He played in 277 games and had 40 homeruns, 154 RBI and a .288 batting average.
The 24-year-old had a decent spring training with the Diamondbacks, but was sent to AAA Reno to begin the season. He was called up on April 15th and since his arrival has been more of a singles hitter. But, this past Saturday Tomas hit his first MLB homerun. Facing hard-throwing Phillies reliever Ken Giles in the eighth inning, he hit a fastball to the opposite field, just getting it beyond the scoreboard and into the seats in right field.
Tomas has shown swing-and-miss tendencies and has had trouble handling good breaking pitches, but he has worked very hard with hitting coaches, Turner Ward and Mark Grace, and it has shown as he has been making better contact and become more patient at the plate. Even though it took 64 at-bats to hit a homerun, he has shown growth potential as he approaches what should be his peak years in baseball. Other Cuban players, such as Jose Abreu, Yasiel Puig, Jorge Soler and Yoenis Cespedes have exceeded early expectations, so hopefully this is the start of a long career for Tomas as well.
It remains to be seen what the Diamondbacks will do with him as the season progresses. He is not very good defensively at third base, and Jake Lamb will be returning from the DL in a few weeks, and the Diamondbacks have a crowded outfield with A.J. Pollock, David Peralta, Mark Trumbo and Ender Inciarte so it looks like players will have to be moved around and that could mean trades.
The Diamondbacks finish up their east coast trip with four games against the Marlins this week before coming home to play the Chicago Cubs for a three game weekend series.
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