D-backs' top prospect celebrates birthday in unique fashion

April 29th, 2022

Hitting a home run on your birthday would be pretty cool. But how about hitting a homer and stealing one in the same game on your birthday?

That’s what Alek Thomas -- the D-backs’ No. 1 prospect per MLB Pipeline and No. 18 overall -- did for Triple-A Reno on Thursday night against El Paso at Southwest University Park.

Thomas launched a towering solo homer over the wall in right-center field, his third of the season, in the top of the fifth inning off El Paso starter Ryan Weathers. Then, in the bottom half of the frame, he leaped against the center-field wall to rob Nomar Mazara of a go-ahead homer of his own.

Thomas, who turned 22 on Thursday, has moved through the Arizona farm system rapidly. After the D-backs drafted him out of high school in the second round in 2018, he reached High-A by the next year, and after the Minor League season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic in ’20, he moved to Double-A and Triple-A in ’21.

In 106 games between Double-A Amarillo and Triple-A Reno last year, Thomas slashed .313/.394/.559 with a career-high 18 homers. His advanced approach at the plate and good speed on the bases and in the field could make him a stalwart in the D-backs’ lineup once he reaches the Majors.

Birthdays are special, but for Thomas, No. 22 was a little extra special thanks to his spectacular performance, both at the plate and in center field.