Rylan Thomas Shines In Powerful July
The Reds didn't really have much to lose when they drafted eligible sophomore Rylan Thomas this year.
If the 21-year-old first baseman went back to school, all they lost was a 26th-round pick. But if he signed, they would acquire someone who hit 27 home runs in two seasons at Central Florida.
Thomas certainly had leverage not to sign, especially after being named a second-team Freshman All-American in 2017—when he also pitched in seven games as a reliever—and then dramatically improving his strikeout and walk rates in 2018.
Thomas appeared ready to forgo signing with the Reds when he went to the Cape Cod League and played in two games with Chatham. In the end, the Reds offered him $287,500 to sign—which was more than all but five players in their draft class. Thomas opted to sign rather than return to UCF.
Thomas, a righthanded batter, went hitless in his first three games at Rookie-level Greeneville before embarking on an epic July in the Appalachian League. In 26 games he collected 25 hits, 27 walks, six doubles and nine home runs. For the month he hit .316/.495/.734.
Thomas cooled off after that, but through 40 games he had hit .282/.341/.462 with 10 homers. He had more walks (33) than strikeouts (31).
At 5-foot-11, 235 pounds, Thomas profiles as a first base-only player. He played first at UCF but has also started several games at third base for Greeneville.
Classification All-Star Teams
Baseball America honors minor leaguers at all levels with our annual Classification All-Stars.
** Low Class A Dayton righthander Hunter Greene, shut down with a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, will try to rehab his injury without surgery.
** High Class A Daytona first baseman Ibandel Isabel has a chance to set the Florida State League record for home runs. He had hit 30 through 88 games, and the league record is 33, which was set by Miami's Jim Fuller in 1971. Isabel started the season with the Dodgers' affiliate in the California League and hit one home run in six games before being traded to the Reds in the deal that sent righthander Ariel Hernandez to Los Angeles.