Rider Grad in Arizona Fall League
Thomas Pitching in Arizona Fall League
For most minor league baseball players, the season ended on Labor Day. A group of advanced and talented players are still playing, however, in the Arizona Fall League, and Rider grad Mike Thomas is one of them.
Thomas ’11 will pitch for the Glendale Desert Dogs when the season begins October 8.
The Arizona Fall League, a six week league that has established itself as the finishing school for the game’s best prospects since its inception in 1992, released preliminary rosters for the 2013 season and the rosters of the six clubs include 25 players listed among MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects.
Thomas ’11 spent the summer in the Class AA Southern League as a relief pitcher for the Chattanooga Lookouts in the L.A Dodgers organization. His teammate for 40 games this season was Yasiel Puig, before his call up to the show.
Rider’s career leader in wins and strikeouts, Thomas, is a 6'2", 185 pound lefty from Forest Hill, MD. He began the summer pitching for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes of the California League, where he had nine saves before being called up to AA Chattanooga.
At Chattanooga Thomas pitched in 34 games and owned a 1-1 record with two saves and an earned run average of 3.23. In 47 innings he struck out 51 and walked just 21.
Thomas has pitched in the Midwest League, the Pioneer League and the Arizona League before moving up to the California League, a higher Class A level.
Pitching for the Great Lakes Loons (Midland, Michigan) Thomas was 4-2 with five saves last year before being moved up to the Quakes of the California League.
Thomas was drafted in the 35th round by the L.A. Dodgers after earning First Team All-East Region honors for Rider in 2011.
Thomas graduated magna cum laude with Bronc career records for victories and strikeouts. He was 29-12 on the Rider mound with 286 strikeouts. Over his last two seasons he was 18-6 with a 190 strikeouts in 200 innings pitched.
Thomas was twice a First Team All-NJ and First Team All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference selection. In 2011 he compiled a 9-3 record and a 2.34 earned run average.
During his four seasons Rider made the four-team MAAC playoffs all four years and advanced to two NCAA Regionals, in Fullerton, California and Austin Texas.
The AFL has long been a stepping stone for the game's top Minor League talent, with many alumni getting to the big leagues quickly after playing there.