Son of White Sox coach excels in pro debut

Chicago Minor Leaguers star in All-Star Games on Tuesday

June 20th, 2018

CLEVELAND -- In Alek Thomas' first game as part of the D-backs' organization on Monday, the 18-year-old outfielder knocked out three singles and drew a walk for Arizona's Rookie-level affiliate.
It was a performance that produced a huge smile from Allen Thomas, Alek's father and the White Sox director of conditioning for the past 15 years. But it certainly didn't surprise him.
"That's been his whole life, I wouldn't expect anything any different," Thomas said. "I don't think he expects anything different. He understands the process. I think the right team got him at the right time.
"But I feel like for me, just let the bird free. Something he's been known to do is fly as far as baseball goes. I'm very very happy. His mom is, too, and everybody in the clubhouse is seeing him actually get to be in a pro uniform. We knew he was going to be that part of it if he just stayed healthy."
The younger Thomas developed into one of the best all-around high school athletes in Illinois while prepping at Mount Carmel High School in Chicago. He committed to play football and baseball at TCU, but his life target became professional baseball.

"We can let the cat out of the bag," said the elder Thomas with a smile. "I don't think college in general was something that Alek ever dreamed about.
"People have to understand where he's coming from there, even though he graduated 20th in his class. He just wanted to be a pro player."
Arizona took Thomas in the second round of the 2018 MLB Draft, setting in motion a raucous family celebration at a restaurant in downtown Chicago where they were gathered on that June 4 night. There also is another White Sox connection for Alek Thomas in the D-backs' system, as former White Sox pitcher J.J. Putz serves as special assistant to Arizona's president and CEO, Orlando Hudson serves as a Minor League Player Development assistant and Chris Cron, Allen Thomas's first manager as a White Sox Minor League player, serves as the D-backs' Minor League hitting coordinator. Allen Thomas is thankful to the entire White Sox organization for letting his son experience big league life at his side at times as he was developing as a player.
"Those are all guys who played around with Alek and kind of took him on their side," Thomas said. "Alek had some really good things that no one in the Draft got what he got, with [White Sox general manager] Rick [Hahn] and [executive vice president] Kenny [Williams] and [owner] Jerry [Reinsdorf] allowing him to be on the field.
"Look, I wasn't a player at that point, so as a strength coach, allowing him to be there, they knew he was fine. Kudos to the White Sox for letting us develop him to where he is today."
White Sox star in the Minors
Sixteen players in the White Sox system, including six from Double-A Birmingham, five from Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and five from Class A Kannapolis, played Tuesday night in Minor League All-Star Games.
Birmingham catcher Zack Collins won the Southern League Home Run Derby. Outfielder (1-for-3), catcher Seby Zavala (1-for-2), Collins (1-for-3) and infielder Danny Mendick (2-for-4) all picked up hits in the game.
Winston-Salem outfielder Joel Booker was named Most Valuable Player of the Carolina League All-Star Game after going 3-for-4 with a leadoff homer and four RBIs. Right-handed pitcher , who leads the Carolina League in strikeouts, threw one scoreless inning with two strikeouts.

Kannapolis infielder Laz Rivera was 2-for-3 with a double and a stolen base and infielder Tate Blackman hit a solo home run in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game.
"Again it's a half-season accolade, but it's one that shows there's talent down there that's performing up to expectations and getting recognized by others in the league," Hahn said. "It's definitely a nice shot in the arm for these kids who have been busting it out down there."
Third to first
• Major League Baseball has overturned an official scoring call from a White Sox contest at Minnesota on June 5. A ground ball off of reliever Nate Jones in the eighth inning of Game 1 of a doubleheader, originally ruled a single, has been changed to an error on third baseman . As a result, all four runs scored off of Jones now are unearned, lowering his postgame ERA from 4.01 to 2.86.
, hitting .333 with two home runs, three doubles and seven RBIs over six games of an injury rehab assignment with Triple-A Charlotte, could be back with the White Sox this weekend. The same holds true for infielder/outfielder , who is 4-for-10 in his three-game injury rehab stint with the Knights.
"At the end of the day, whoever you have, they have to do their job," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "But it will be nice to see Avi and Leroy back and be part of the club, sure."