Former KU Standout Thompson Picked-Up by Marlins
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Former Kansas baseball standout Tony Thompson heard his named called at a Major League Baseball (MLB) draft for the second time in his career Thursday, when he was selected by the Miami Marlins in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft.
“Everybody associated with our baseball program was thrilled for Tony to be selected in the Triple-A phase of Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft,” KU head coach Ritch Price said. “It’s a great opportunity for him and it will give him an opportunity to achieve his goal of playing in the big leagues.”
Selected by the Oakland Athletics in the sixth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Thompson spent the last two seasons with the Stockton Ports in long season A. Last year, he batted .250 with 18 home runs and 92 RBI, an improvement from his 2012 numbers when he batted .276 with 11 home runs and 49 RBI.
“Stockton was a good hitters’ league and I got to play against some good competition,” Thompson said. “I learned a lot of things about myself as a hitter and learned a lot of things on the defensive side that will help me later on in my career.”
In just three short years as a Jayhawk, Thompson amassed a career batting average of .341, hitting 32 home runs for 138 RBI and a .582 slugging percentage. His sophomore year at KU, he won the Big 12 Triple Crown with a .389 batting average, 21 home runs and 82 RBI. However, the transition from college to minor leagues was one that Thompson had to adapt to.
“It was a little different switching to a wood bat,” Thompson said. “You can’t get away with much with a wood bat. In the Big 12 we faced good pitching, but it is just different playing every single day. It is tough to focus up for 140 games and it is something I have had to get used to over the past few years. Knowing how to handle yourself on a day-to-day basis was the biggest adjustment, whereas in college we only had four to five games a week.”
However, that didn’t deter him from excelling at the minor league level, as in four years, Thompson has compiled a career batting average of .258 with 46 home runs and 221 RBI; the type of numbers that makes one stand out at the Rule 5 Draft.
“It was a pretty big honor for me to be picked up in the Rule 5 Draft,” Thompson said. “There had to have been some sort of interest in me and they had to have seen me play, so it is a big deal and a good opportunity for me to get a change of scenery and hopefully move up faster in that organization.”
Each year, MLB holds two player drafts: The First-Year Player draft in June that deals with amateur players and the Rule 5 Draft in December, which concerns professional players. In the Rule 5 Draft, players on the Triple-A reserve list can be drafted by a team for $12,000 and that team must honor the individual’s current contract.
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