Monday, February 6, 2012

2012 Top Prospects #17: Dicke Thon Jr

Name: Dickie Thon Jr
Position: Shortstop
Acquired: 5th round (2010)
Opening Day age: 20
Height/weight: 6’2”/185 lbs
Best/worst tool: Athleticism/Power
Risk factor: High
ETA: 2015

Scouting Report

As the son of former big leaguer Richard Thon, Dickie has an MLB pedigree and genetics on his side. Dickie Thon has the potential for five above average or better tools, though some are much further off than others. His best tool is his athleticism, a talent he shares with his father, as Thon Sr averaged 5 triples and 20 stolen bases per season across a 15 year major league career (peaking at 10 and 37 respectively). Offensively, he has above average potential with the bat thanks to good bat speed and an advanced approach. He has shown some inconsistencies to this point, but it’s understandable given the transition from aluminum to wooden bats. Power is Thon’s worst tool, but it still carries fringe-above average potential. The power is presently manifesting itself in gappers, but as Thon physically matures and develops his bat, he could become a 15 home run guy. Defensively, Thon is more fundamental than flash, but shows good footwork and soft hands. His plus athleticism aids him in the field, and his unquestionable work ethic gives both his arm and fielding fringe-plus potential.

2011 Statistics and Analysis

121 AB, .223/.369/.322 (.691 OPS), 3 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 15 RBI, 6 SB, 23/44 BB/K

Like many players making their professional debut, Thon wore down as the season went on. Through June and July, Thon hit .293/.440/.440 (.880), but in August, he hit only .109/.255/.130 (.385). While many players experience the statistical drop off due to fatigue, Thon’s was for a much more serious reason. In March, during a routine physical with the Blue Jays, it was discovered he suffered from a rare kidney disease. While it is under control, Thon was never 100% throughout the year, and between the disease, treatment, and Florida heat, he wore down physically and mentally towards the end of the year. Even while playing injured he was impressive, as scouts who saw him play were enthusiastic about his performance. With his health returning, he should experience a statistical resurgence in 2012.

Expected 2012 Assignment: Rookie-class Bluefield

Future Outlook

Given his recovery from his kidney disease, Thon is most likely slated for another short season assignment to open 2012. Bluefield appears to be the most fitting destination, as it suits his talent level well and makes for an easy trip to his probable late season destination of Single-A Lansing. Because of his lack of polish Thon could be a slow mover through the system, following something close to the “one level per year” developmental path. Toronto has no reason to rush Thon, as MLB shortstop Yunel Escobar is locked up on a team friendly deal and Adeiny Hechavarria will be waiting in Triple-A. With a healthy season, Thon could put together the type of numbers that would vault him much higher on this list one year from now.

Perfect World Projection: Everyday shortstop who hits 1st or 2nd in the lineup

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