Padres Draft: Team lands potential gem in Levi Thomas
By Ryan Sikes
The Padres appear to be on a run of college players, taking Levi Thomas in the fourth round.
Despite pitching for a small school, Levi Thomas was tied for tenth in the country with 42 strikeouts in just 23.0 innings before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the season. Through four starts, Thomas had a 0.39 ERA while limiting opponents to a .117 average.
As a true freshman, Thomas made major contributions to the Troy Trojans with 15 appearances – including seven starts – and struck out 56 batters in 41.1 innings. He was transitioned into the starting rotation towards the end of the season, making five consecutive starts.
Thomas has big-time swing and miss stuff, as his 12.2 K/9 led the team. In 2019, he made 15 starts while holding firm on his command, allowing 3.5 BB/9 in both his freshman and sophomore years. He was money for the Trojans down the stretch, winning eight of his final nine games.
He had a dazzling performance on the road against the number one ranked Florida Gators, throwing 108 pitches over six innings and shutting down the top team in America.
Here’s what Baseball America had to say about Thomas:
"While he doesn’t have overpowering fastball velocity, sitting mostly in the 90-93 mph range, Thomas gets terrific carry on his four-seamer. The riding action helps it play above its velocity and rack up whiffs. Thomas has improved the consistency of his solid, 78-82 mph slider after the pitch was more erratic in previous years. Thomas also has a developing changeup."
Thomas will potentially join Wilcox as the next wave of young pitching talent to enter the Padres farm system, which already had the most depth.
The Padres will have one more pick before wrapping up the abbreviated 2020 MLB Draft. Then they’ll have an opportunity to sign the undrafted guys for a maximum of $20,000.