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Minor League Mondays: Rhylan Thomas Could Factor Into Mets' Second Half Plans

While there is still a lot of time left before the trade deadline, the New York Mets have to prepare for the possibility that they will have to sell for a second year in a row. With plenty of players on expiring contracts, including outfielder Harrison Bader, there will be opportunities for young players to make an impact at the major league level in the second half. While the Mets had hoped that top prospect Drew Gilbert would be a big-league consideration by now, a hamstring injury has sidelined him for much of the season, opening the door for others to make their mark. One outfielder who has stepped up in Gilbert's absence is Rhylan Thomas, making him the focus of this week's edition of Minor League Mondays.

Thomas, 24, was the Mets' 11th-round pick in 2022 out of USC and received a $180,000 signing bonus to join the organization. That total exceeded the maximum for post-10th-round picks by $55,000, showing that the Mets felt Thomas had some attributes worth adding to their farm system.

The calling card for Thomas' success has been outstanding plate discipline, which saw him rack up the same number of walks (36) as strikeouts over 117 collegiate games for USC. The Mets pushed Thomas aggressively in his first full season and he responded nicely, hitting .328 with an .832 OPS across three minor league levels that saw him finish at AA Binghamton.

Thomas began 2024 with the Rumble Ponies and got off to another hot start, hitting .323 with a .783 OPS in 25 games to earn another promotion to AAA Syracuse. The International League has been more of a challenge for Thomas, who is hitting .226 over his first 17 games at AAA.

There is a lot to like about Thomas, who makes good contact, has above-average speed and is a capable defender across all three outfield positions. The big issue that limits Thomas' upside is a severe lack of power as evidenced by the fact that he only has three home runs and a .384 slugging percentage across nearly 600 minor league at-bats.

While Thomas may not be a big-league regular, he does have some utility as a fourth outfielder who doesn't strike out and can play everywhere. The key to Thomas' success as a big leaguer may be figuring out how to make better use of his speed as he has stolen bases at just under a 50 percent clip (16-of-33). Developing that aspect of Thomas' game could give him utility as a pinch runner late in games in addition to a defensive replacement late in games.

If the Mets aren't in a pennant race in September, which appears to be the case based on their inconsistent performance to date, the last month of games will likely be used to see what young players like Gilbert and LuisAngel Acuna can offer to the big club in 2025. Thomas, who is currently the Mets' 30th-best prospect according to, could be a consideration for big league time if he can raise his batting average at AAA over the summer but he should at least be in contention for a bench role next spring.

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