August 2, 2012
Kansas City, MO –Former Avila University pitcher Chris Thomas is wasting no time moving his way toward the big leagues.
Thomas, a 6-foot-2 right-hander from Liberty, Mo. who finished his collegiate eligibility at Avila last spring, was promoted Aug. 1 from the St. Louis Cardinals’ rookie league team to its A club in Batavia, N.Y. The team plays in the N.Y. Penn League.
With this promotion, Thomas basically leap-frogged one entire level in the minor leagues and is ever closer to his dream of one day playing in the majors.
Thomas, Avila’s pitcher of the year each of the last two seasons, pitched in 12 games with the Gulf Coast Cardinals, located in Jupiter, Fla. He posted an earned-run average of 0.68, giving up one earned run with four saves, 15 strikeouts and five walks.
“He texted me today,” said Eagles head baseball coach Daryl Cronk, “and he was extremely excited. He put up some incredible numbers in the rookie league.”
Thomas went 12-2 in 14 starts for the Eagles and posted an impressive ERA of 1.53, striking out 121 batters while walking only 21 as the team rolled to the Heart of America Athletic Conference regular-season championship and second NAIA tournament appearance in the last three years.
Primarily a power hurler, Thomas throws a fastball that consistently clocks north of 90 mph. Scouts from the Cardinals’ organization took note of that velocity during a private tryout back in May and quickly signed Thomas to a contract.
“There’s really no way to describe what that felt like,” Thomas said back then. “Everything you work for all those years … to have it finally all come together was a great feeling.”
It appears that it’s still coming together for Thomas.
Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.