By: Alex Johnson
Canadian Baseball Network
DUNEDIN, FLA. – Author Tim Notke once said that hard work beats talent where talent doesn’t work hard.
Jake Thomas is a good example.
The 5-foot-10 right-fielder defied the odds at Binghamton University, as he honed and developed the skills to eventually get drafted by the Blue Jays.
“I surrounded myself with great coaches and they did a great job recruiting awesome people and I just had teammates that made my life awesome there so it’s a great university and a great experience,” he said.
Thomas credits coach Tim Sinicki and his coaching staff for his on-the-field development.
“When I first came in (to school), I wasn’t looked at as a pro player,” he said, standing in the sun at the Bobby Mattick Training Center. “But by the time I was a little older, I made myself a pro prospect, so with Tim and the other coaches, I improved myself a lot.”
Thomas is ranked in the top 10 in every offensive category in Binghamton history. He is the all-time leader in on-base percentage (.453) and walks (132), leading to his nickname, “hitter you don’t want to face.”
The seventh round draft pick wasn’t aware that he led his Bearcats in every offensive category, but he believed that his impact on the team will live on.
“If anything, I hope I made more of an impact on the culture of the program and how the team is unified so I think I took that as a big responsibility, especially when I was a junior and a senior to make sure that it was one team,” said the outfielder.
“We were there to win and whatever individual dreams you had will kind of take care of itself … I think that’s kind of helping young guys develop and making them better ball players and winning championships.”
Coaches raved about the John Bilos Award winner’s work ethic, which he achieved for career performance, but he noted that there wasn’t anything particular about his workouts
“I guess it’s just real determination. I’m a smaller kid and not a lot of schools were after me and I was fortunate enough to get a scholarship to play at Binghamton University.”