Tahnaj Thomas Hopes to Maintain Clean Mechanics Into 2022 Season

BRADENTON, Fla. – Tahnaj Thomas is feeling good heading into the 2022 season.

His campaign in 2021 was a rough one — seeing him putting up a 5.19 ERA in 60.2 innings as a starter in High-A. That was fueled by control problems, leading to 35 walks in that time span.

Thomas went to a pitching camp hosted by the Pirates over the offseason, and felt the drills they did helped to clean up his mechanical issues from the season.

“Just taking [the drills] from the pitching camp into the rest of the offseason and into Spring Training, I feel really good about it,” said Thomas.

The control issues have shown up in the past for Thomas, although they disappeared in 2019, as he had a bit of a breakout year. Thomas found in 2021 that he wasn’t in a good position to throw, and wasn’t staying on his backside as long as he should have.

“In 2019, I was in a really good spot,” said Thomas. “We’re just trying to get back there this year and this spring and just carry it throughout the whole year.”

When Thomas has good control, he’s staying balanced over the rubber, driving into his backside, and having a straight direction toward home plate.

“My mechanics, sometimes I kind of cross over, kind of cut myself off,” said Thomas. “We’re getting to it, it’s just me staying in a direct line going towards home plate.”

Thomas spoke of the new culture from the more player-centric player development program, repeating something that has been said by a lot of players.

“The first time I came into the organization, it was more strict,” said Thomas. “It was more of a set program, I felt like. It was kind of more forced drills, I would say. Now, it’s a lot more variations of different drills that we can do, and different things that implement in the work day.”

Thomas feels that the more individualized training works better for his learning style.

“I’m more of a person who learns one-on-one, not in a group setting,” said Thomas. “All of my workday has been more one-on-one setting.”

Thomas has a fastball that can hit triple-digits, and a slider that is an out pitch. If he can maintain clean mechanics and fix his control issues, he could get back on track to being an MLB starting pitching prospect.


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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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