Diamondbacks OF Alek Thomas’ patience pays off in breakout performance

Apr 9, 2023, 12:58 PM | Updated: 1:10 pm

Alek Thomas #5 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers...

Alek Thomas #5 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on March 31, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Alek Thomas’ 2023 season started off in unfortunate fashion.

The 22-year-old outfielder was 0-for-16 from the plate in his first seven games for the Arizona Diamondbacks this season.

While he struggled to find his first hit, Thomas was making contact with only one strikeout this season.

“During those games I didn’t get hits, I felt like I still was hitting the ball pretty good,” Thomas said.

Eventually, the contact was bound to lead to some hits, and Saturday the knocks came and kept coming for Thomas. He was 4-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored and was a key factor in the D-backs’ impressive 12-8 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Thomas is one of Arizona’s young players tasked with flipping around a franchise that has not been to the playoffs since 2017. He discussed if the expectations people have for him weighed on him during his rough start to the year.

“I think I’m harder on myself,” Thomas said. “I think everyone knew that. I’ve been having good at-bats and so it was bound to happen. But for me, I hold myself to a higher standard and I was frustrated but I knew at some point it was going to happen. So, I didn’t think I was going to go (zero) for the season so it was going to happen at some point.”

One might think Thomas would have changed his approach in order to finally find success after the slow start to the season. However, Thomas stuck to what he was doing.

“I felt like I was in a good place or I am in a good place right now with how I’m feeling, so I’m just going to try to stick with that,” Thomas said.

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo spoke on Thomas’ approach and the young outfielder breaking out of his slump in Saturday’s win.

“He has been working on laying off certain pitches and I saw that translating and … I was answering that question for probably the past two or three days about him staying with the process, which is important,” Lovullo said.

“Staying with his routine which is what they’re taught from a young age. It was going to show up for him so came out yesterday in four big ways and hopefully he gets on a great roll. He’s in a good spot.”

Thomas said he felt “a lot better” heading home after the game Saturday. As for if the performance will lead to greater success down the road, Thomas said a good game will “lead to good things” going forward.

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