With their eighth round pick, the Yankees selected center fielder Brandon Thomas, a senior out of Georgia Tech in Atlanta. Thomas was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the fourth round of the 2012 draft, but decided to return to school for his senior year. He's a 6'3", 202 pound outfielder that led the Yellow Jackets in batting average and on-base percentage.
Baseball America's Jim Callis and MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo had nothing but praise for this pick by the Yankees, saying that the tools that made him a fourth-rounder a year ago still exist. Thomas' stock dropped a bit after coming down with mononucleosis this past season that forced him to miss a chunk of time. Baseball America had Thomas ranked as their 134th pick in the draft, which makes him a bit of a steal at #254. In 2012, Thomas was ranked fifth in NCAA baseball.
Thomas is a strong player with power potential and a line-drive swing, but he hasn't developed a home run stroke yet with only nine homers in his college career. He's a switch-hitter and an above-average runner. In 48 games for Georgia Tech this season, he batted .339/.425/.471 with 28 walks and 36 strikeouts in 189 at-bats. He's a patient hitter that makes good contact. To stay in center field in professional baseball, Thomas will need to improve upon his route-running a bit.
Minor League ball has a profile on Thomas here.
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