Life has somehow conspired to keep 26-year-old outfielder Cody Thomas away from the baseball diamond.
He spent most of his college career at Oklahoma focused on football, where he served as backup quarterback to Baker Mayfield. Then, just when his baseball career seemed to be taking off, the pandemic canceled the 2020 season and prevented him from gaining the experience he so desperately needs.
“Cody Thomas is a physical presence,” A’s assistant general manager Billy Owens said. “His athleticism and huge power potential made Cody an intriguing draft. The adjustments he’s accomplished throughout his journey gives optimism.
“With continued adjustments and more seasoning, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he became a threat offensively and proved capable of handling all three outfield positions.”
The 6-foot-4, 211-pound lefthanded hitter has shown power potential. He hit 23 homers, 15 doubles and six triples for Double-A Tulsa in 2019 and participated in the Dodgers’ alternate training site last year.
“He’s made a really good impression on us every time we’ve seen him,” A’s assistant GM Dan Feinstein said. “He’s a really good all-around player.”
Feinstein said Thomas is above-average at both corner outfield positions and capable in center. His arm ranks as average for a right fielder. Feinstein ranks his speed and hit tool both at major league average but cautions that a year without games could have an effect on players.
Thomas was a highly-recruited high school quarterback out of Colleyville, Texas. At Oklahoma, he found himself behind the best QB in the nation and filled a backup role, playing only one full season of baseball in 2016, when he hit .299 with six home runs and became the Dodgers’ 13th-round pick.
With less experience than most college picks, Thomas needed at-bats to advance through the organization.
— Feinstein reported that lefthander A.J. Puk threw fine in early workout at big league camp in Mesa, Ariz. Puk is returning from shoulder surgery and has had his promising career stalled by a series of injuries. Because of innings limits, Oakland might consider using Puk out of the bullpen to start the year.
— The A’s went to spring training with only major league players in camp. The team has not determined when minor leaguers will be invited to join the activities.