One of the top prospects to play at Greater Nevada Field will make his home debut Thursday when Alek Thomas and the Reno Aces kick off a six-game set against the Sacramento River Cats.
The 21-year-old Thomas was promoted to Triple-A during the Aces' 12-game road trip earlier this month. A left-handed-hitting outfielder, Thomas is one of the top prospects in the minor leagues. In its midseason prospect rankings, ESPN placed Thomas at No. 20 overall, writing: "There was some hit-tool risk on Thomas after the 2019 season, but he's now 21 years old in Double-A with the same standout defense, while the contact concern isn't worrying nearly as many." FanGraphs ranked Thomas 25th. MLB.com placed Thomas 42nd.
Thomas has appeared in seven games for Reno, hitting .222 with a double and triple in 27 at-bats. He's walked five times against eight strikeouts and has a .364 on-base percentage and .333 slugging mark. During 72 games in Double-A this year, Thomas hit .283 with 10 homers and an .881 OPS. He's slashed .301/.381/.466 in 249 career minor-league games, typically being one of the youngest players in his league during those appearances.
A Chicago native, Thomas was a second-round pick in the 2018 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks out of Mount Carmel High. He signed out of high school, forgoing his commitment to TCU. As the No. 63 pick in the draft, Thomas landed a $1.2 million signing bonus.
Thomas is seen as a potential future star in the big leagues in a Diamondbacks outfield that could include Corbin Carroll and Kristian Robinson, with all three being top-100 prospects entering the year. But Carroll suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in May while Robinson was tagged with an 18-month probation after pleading guilty to aggravated assault of a police officer and has been dealing with immigration issues while working out in the Dominican Republic. He hasn't played minor-league ball since 2019.
Seth Beer partners with Humane Society
During this weekend’s series between Reno and Sacramento, the Aces will auction off two game-used signed bats by slugging first baseman Seth Beer with all proceeds going to the Nevada Humane Society. The bidding is already underway and will run until Sunday at 5 p.m. through the LiveSource app or by clicking here.
The Nevada Humane Society is the only open-admission, no-kill shelter in the state, taking in any animal regardless of age, illness or past trauma. In 2020, NHS helped more than 16,000 animals in Northern Nevada in addition to sheltering and adoptions.
Beer has long been a dog lover. The 24-year-old grew up in Maryville, Ill., with his family taking in and raising three rescue dogs. His first dog, Beau, was found in a Walmart parking lot while Daisy was picked up on the side of a road and Bella was brought home from a baseball tournament.
Seth’s mom, Robin, has been an advocate for finding dogs their forever home since before Seth was born, fostering dogs until they were ready to be placed with a family.
“My mom did a lot when it came to fostering dogs and taking them in when they needed homes,” Beer said. “It’s something I grew up around and it’s special. The impact my mom has had on these dogs shows how compassionate she is for animals and that has rubbed off on me.”
Beer has partnered with the Humane Society at each of his minor-league stops.
“These dogs will love you forever,” Beer added. “(A dog’s) lifespan is just one portion of your life but it’s their whole life. (The Humane Society) is something that touches my heart and it’s something I find joy partnering with because animals bring me a lot of joy. Someone is going to be impacted by one of these animals and the amount of joy my dogs have brought me is pretty special.”