Field makes the most of his tools
A product of Midway High School in Waco, Texas, infielder Thomas Field went on to play baseball at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. In his final year, he hit .338 with 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 57 games for the Bobcats.
The Rockies selected the right-handed hitter in the 24th round of the 2008 Draft. At the time, he profiled best as a shortstop. His career has taken a circuitous path, as he has been part of four organizations and still retains his rookie eligibility. The presence of Troy Tulowitzki and other Rockies middle infielders made it difficult for him to remain on the Colorado depth chart. He ended up being claimed off waivers by the Twins, Angels and Pirates. Ultimately, he signed with the Rangers as a free agent. He actually never played for the Twins, having been waived in November after being claimed earlier in the month.
Field has usually shown a very credible hitting tool, averaging .273 in his Minor League career. He has a fairly aggressive swing, with quick hands through the ball. For a player who is 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, Field generates surprising power. I first scouted him in the 2010 Arizona Fall League, where he scuffled at the plate and hit only .209 in 73 plate appearances. It may have been his only subpar professional offensive performance.
Using the entire field, he can take a pitch where it is thrown and drive the ball to both gaps. Field showed his power in his first week playing for the Rangers, hitting two home runs in his first six games and holding his own against quality pitching. He makes good contact, and he can be counted upon to generally put the ball in play.
Field is capable of playing second base, shortstop and third. Due to his average range and average arm strength, I feel he profiles best as a second baseman. That's his primary position with the Rangers now, as he has assumed some playing time that became available when Rougned Odor was sent down for more seasoning. In the 2010 AFL season, Field made six errors at shortstop in only 18 games. He may not be spectacular, but he plays a very competent infield.
In no particular order, I believe Field's three best tools are his power, his hitting ability and his speed. He has enough pure speed to steal a base and take and extra base if needed. His good baseball instincts and energy stand out in everything he does.
Field is not afraid to get his uniform dirty. A gritty player with a high desire to succeed, he is attentive on every play and goes the extra mile to make things happen. While his power is surprising, he doesn't go out of his way to try to hit the ball out of the park in every at-bat. Rather, he takes what the pitcher gives him and makes himself a "tough out." Aggressive but confident, Field is a team player first and foremost.
As I witnessed in a recent game against the Indians, Field sometimes tries to do too much. His aggressive approach at the back end of a double play resulted in a wild throw to first. When he plays within his capabilities and doesn't "push the envelope," he has the best chance for sustained success.
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Field has been given brief opportunities at the big league level by the Rockies in 2011 (16 games) and '12 (two games) and by the Angels in '13 (15 games). He's never really had an extended chance to to prove his value. Now, the Rangers are giving him an opportunity to demonstrate that he belongs.
Field projects as a capable and versatile utility middle infielder, with the ability to fill in for a sustained amount of time or come off the bench to pinch-hit or play defense. He will provide 100-percent effort, good knowledge of the game, and he has playable tools that will help win ballgames.
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