Alumnus and former St. Thomas baseball pitcher Dylan Thomas signed with the Northern League St. Paul Saints Monday and pitched one of three games as a team member.
During Thomas’ two seasons playing for the Tommies, he led the team to a third-place finish in the 2012 Division III World Series, a MIAC championship and was named All-America twice.
Thomas has already had the chance to carry some of that success into his position with the minor-league Saints.
“It’s been really cool,” Thomas said. “I’ve had a walk-off. I’ve already thrown and it’s been a lot of fun.”
Thomas is the sixth pitcher to finish off his college career at St. Thomas and move on to play for the Saints, a 17-15 team tied for first with the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the North Division. St. Thomas Baseball Coach Chris Olean played for the Saints in 2001 and said Thomas “deserves to be there.”
“From an ability standpoint, he’s one of the top one or two guys we’ve ever had at St. Thomas,” Olean said.
The Saints weren’t the only professional team interested in Thomas after the Major League Baseball draft came up dry. Olean said the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks and the Kansas City T-Bones also expressed interest.
Thomas said making the switch from collegiate to professional baseball will be a challenge, but he is ready to take it on.
“It’s very good baseball. It will take me a little time to get used to, I think but it’s going to be a great experience for me and a great experience for my baseball career,” Thomas said.
Olean agreed that Thomas is ready for the challenge.
“I think once he gets accustomed to that level of play … he has the potential to have a lot of success at that level,” Olean said. “But it is a big jump. Coming off of facing college hitters to facing professional hitters is a big difference.”
Even Thomas wasn’t drafted or signed as a free agent, he said his spot on the Saints’ roster was just what he wanted.
“It’s awesome. It’s exactly what I wanted coming out of college, a chance to play and continue my baseball career,” Thomas said.
Baihly Warfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.