By Eugene McIntosh
When you're feeling undervalued and overlooked, there's only one thing to do...show and prove!
That's exactly what Mount Carmel's own Alek Thomas has done since the 2019 MLB draft. Many (including myself) thought he was a no doubt first round pick but instead he was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 63rd pick in the second round. (The Cubs passed on him twice selecting Nico Hoerner out of Stanford wit the 24th pick in the first and Brennen Davis out of Basha High in Arizona with the 62nd pick in the second)
The 2017 Gatorade Illinois Player Of The Year thought he was a first round pick as well and I asked him did he use the first round snub as motivation. "Yes for sure. 60 something teams passed up on me...even the Diamondbacks too so I had to prove everybody for the most part wrong and I'm here now so I feel like I did a pretty good job."
He's exceeded expectations so far since he was called up from Triple-A Reno (he hit .277 with eight doubles, one triple, four HRs and fourteen RBI in 24 games for Reno in 2022) on Sunday May 7th and immediately inserted into the starting lineup as the Diamondbacks beat the Colorado Rockies 4-0 at Chase Field. Since then he's hit .300 with four doubles, three HRs and 6 RBI in 15 games. His six game hitting streak ended yesterday as he went 0-4 in a 5-4 loss to the Cubs.
He credits his father Allen who was the Chicago White Sox strength and conditioning coach for 27 years as his main reason for making it to the show. "My dad...he helped me get to this spot along with my mom as well but my dad I don't think I'd be here without my dad for sure."
I chopped it up with my Carmel brethren over the weekend at The Friendly Confines. #WeAreMC
The Bigs: Alek how are you feeling brother?
Alek: I'm feeling good now. Feeling real good to be back home, family's here, girlfriend's here. Everybody's here so it's good.
The Bigs: What's the last week and some change been like for you?
Alek: It's been really good. Just adjusting to the big leagues and having a good time having fun. It's still the same game so I'm having a lot of fun.
The Bigs: Let's go back a little bit. Where did you grow up?
Alek: So I was born in Tucson Arizona and then moved to my dad's hometown which is in North Carolina for 12 years. Then my dad got the job with the White Sox around 2000...or actually in like 1990 something and he ended up eventually getting the big league job for the White Sox so we moved out here in 2012 to keep the family together so I've been here ever since.
The Bigs: How did you get to Mount Carmel?
Alek: My dad just found the place, thought it was a good school and just put me there so that's how that happened.
The Bigs: What was it like playing for Coach Hurry? (Brian Hurry is the head baseball coach at Carmel)
Alek: It was fun man. He's a funny dude, he means well and he's a really good dude. We had some success there but unfortunately we didn't get our goal which was a state championship but we had some good memories for sure.
The Bigs: When did you think the big league was possible?
Alek: Ever since I was a little kid I always knew that I would get here at some point. I think I pay a big tribute to my dad. He helped me get to this spot along with my mom as well but my dad I don't think I'd be here without my dad for sure."
The Bigs: We all thought you were a first round pick. I'm sure you thought you were a first round pick. (He laughs and says "yeah I thought so too") Did you use that second round pick as motivation?
Alek: Yes for sure. I mean 60 something teams passed up on me...even the Diamondbacks too so I had to prove everybody for the most part wrong and I'm here now so I feel like I did a pretty good job at that.
The Bigs: What was that minor league experience like? They say you need those 400-500 at bats every year there. What was it like?
Alek: I had a good time in the minor leagues man. It was all fun. We had a group of good guys so I had a good time.
The Bigs: The only thing harder than getting here is staying here. I'm looking forward to seeing you around for a long time. Continued success and Mount Carmel brother to brother it's a pleasure to see you doing this.
Alek: Yeah I appreciate that man...thank you.