Prior to Major League Baseball joining the rest of the sports world in temporarily suspending operations last month due to concerns over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Los Angeles Dodgers had completed nearly two-thirds of their Cactus League schedule.
Over that three-week span, the club most notably saw Mookie Betts and David Price make their respective debuts. However, plenty of other storylines emerged as the spring went along.
One of them was non-roster invitee Cody Thomas standing out for his contributions at the plate. He appeared in 12 Cactus League games, hitting .318/.333/1.091 with a team-leading five home runs and 11 RBI.
Thomas received rave reviews from a few of his Dodgers teammates, including Max Muncy, who cited his quality at-bats, excellent defense and work ethic as qualities that impressed him the most.
During a recent appearance on “Dodger Talk” on AM 570 L.A. Sports, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman similarly praised Thomas for overcoming a rough offensive stretch in 2019:
“He is pretty new to playing baseball full time; it’s well-documented, he was the backup quarterback to Baker (Mayfield) at Oklahoma. He missed a lot of time as a result of that. Didn’t get to play fall ball at Oklahoma, so we drafted him as a really good athlete with some ability. The way he has continued to grow and evolve, last year the first two months in Double-A, he was unbelievable. And then struggled a little bit with his swing and that kind of snowballed on him and he really scuffled for a period of time, which I think was a great experience. I actually really like when young players do that in the Minor Leagues. You get a sense of how they respond to adversity. Ideally they don’t have their first bit of adversity in the big league level.
“Seeing him go through that and then they’re kind of at a fork in the road about which path they go down, and seeing what Cody did this offseason, coming into Spring Training his swing was in the best spot I’ve seen since we’ve had him.”
As Friedman noted, Thomas played college football at the University of Oklahoma and didn’t begin his professional baseball career until 2016, when he was selected by the Dodgers in the 13th round of the MLB Draft.
Despite being somewhat of a late bloomer, Thomas has 437 Minor League games under his belt, with his most recent work taking place at Double-A Tulsa during the 2019 season.
The 25-year-old hit a career-high 23 home runs with the Drillers last year, but he particularly struggled at times during the second half, which led to a drop-off in many statistics across the board.
Now after flashing his potential during Spring Training, Thomas hopes to carry that momentum with him into the start of the 2020 season. If and when the campaign begins, he figures to report to Triple-A Oklahoma City for the first time in his career.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our shows, and more!