Torey Lovullo wants D-backs rookie Alek Thomas to focus on ‘his process’

May 17, 2022, 6:01 PM | Updated: 11:35 pm
Alek Thomas #5 of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats against the Miami Marlins during the MLB game at Ch...
Alek Thomas #5 of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats against the Miami Marlins during the MLB game at Chase Field on May 09, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It’s been a rollercoaster year thus far for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

But one seemingly shining star for the future has begun to sparkle in D-backs top prospect, outfielder Alek Thomas.

The rookie made his MLB debut on May 8 and has been impressive in his less than two-week stint for the D-backs thus far.

In nine career games, the 22-year-old is 8-for-27 (.296) with two home runs, four RBIs, three doubles, five runs and one walk.

But despite all the early success at the plate for Thomas, Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo wants the youngster to focus on what got him called up instead of results early on.

“I don’t want him to focus on getting hits and worrying about knocking the ball out of the ballpark. I want him to come in here, get into a routine, stay with his process,” Lovullo told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo in between games of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. “I want to watch his BPs and make sure that he’s spraying the ball around and not trying to launch the baseball in the seats. The balls are wider, the lights are brighter, it’s easy to get up there and start launching balls — everybody’s got such power once you get to the big leagues.

“I just want to make sure he stays with his pregame process and then once he gets into a game to control the zone, not get wild, not get too over-amped to where he’s going to try to do too much per at-bat. We know what they can do. We’re in constant contact with player development and we know exactly what they’ve been doing, so I want everything to translate and be done the same exact way. And not count at-bats, not count hits — just take care of the at-bat. It’s like a boxing match, you have four rounds every single night and you have to win every single round and Alek has been doing a really good job of that.”

Thomas made a costly error in Monday night’s 5-4 loss to the Dodgers that allowed a Mookie Betts single to tie the game.

The D-backs rookie outfielder booted the ball in center field, allowing Betts to end up on third and two runs to score while the ball rolled all the way to the wall.

From a former player to an up-and-coming rookie, Lovullo gave Thomas a pep talk about all the things that player development has preached to the outfielder along his minor league journey and ascension to the big leagues.

“Just a little pat on the butt and say, ‘Hey man it’s part of the game, it sucks,'” Lovullo said to Thomas after the error. “It’s not what happened in that moment — we all saw it, we all realize it impacted the game in a big way — it’s how you respond to it.

“What’s your response the next time there’s a bunch of stimuli and you have to be able to execute on the same type of play or run down a ball in the outfield or walk up to home plate and control the at-bat the way you have? And you have to be able to compartmentalize it and separate it and push it out as fast as possible.”

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