Pittsburgh Pirates: Tahnaj Thomas Impresses in 2021 Debut
By Cody Potanko
Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect Tahnaj Thomas made his 2021 debut on Wednesday and had a strong showing with High-A Greensboro
Night two of the 2021 minor league baseball season for the affiliates of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the rest of baseball, is in the books. Entering Wednesday night many Pirate fans were going to be interested to see how one of their top pitching prospects performed in his 2021 debut. This pitcher was Tahnaj Thomas who took the mound for the High-A Greensboro Grasshoppers on Wednesday night.
Thomas is one of those freak athletes who converted to a pitcher after coming up as a young shortstop in the Cleveland Indian organization. Fast forward now to 2021 and FanGraphs has Thomas ranked as the 4th best prospect in the Pirate farm system. He offers a blazing fastball that can reach 100+ easily, as well as a slider that isn’t too shabby either. We will touch on another pitch later in the piece because the introduction to this pitch is newsworthy.
Wednesday night Thomas was consistently sitting between 97-98 MPH on the gun with his fastball, his slider appeared to be effective as well. The one pitch that he threw today surprised me, and on the radio side, they described it as a “change of speed pitch,” which tells me he confident enough to throw a changeup now. Good thing is he generated swings and misses, which is so crucial for a flamethrower pitcher.
By my count, Thomas managed to throw around a 54-55% strike rate and for someone who has been labeled as a bit wild is crucial towards his development. If he can harness that 100 MPH fastball, the sky is the limit for the Bahama King. Pitch count seemed to be in play today due to Thomas being pulled after 3 innings of work, but in those 3 innings of work he looked terrific.
In those 3 innings of work Thomas allowed 1 run on a hit, a walks and 7 strikeouts. The one hit he gave up was a solo shot after falling behind in the count, and he tried to get even in a 2-1 count with a fastball, and Blaine Crim made him pay. After giving up the home run Thomas got locked in and struck out three batters to end the inning. Overall, Thomas looked ready, confident, and not affected by the season-less 2020 year. These are all traits the Pittsburgh Pirates had to be happy to see.
Other Notable Performers
Travis Swaggerty – 1-4 with a RBI
Mason Martin – 2-4 with a RBI
Liover Peguero – 2-5 with a HR
Nick Gonzales – 2-4 with a 2-run HR
Lolo Sanchez – 2-3 with a RBI
Endy Rodriguez – 1-2 with a moon shot HR
Bear Bellomy – 2.2 IP, 0 Hits, O ER, 0 BBs, and 3 Ks
Logan Hofmann – 3.0 IP, 1 Hit, 0 ER, 0 BBs, and 7 Ks