The Arizona Diamondbacks made an unexpected move prior to the 2015 season. The team signed Cuban free agent Yasmany Tomas to a six-year, $68 million dollar contract. His acquisition sent a message that management was not content to rebuild slowly. Instead of taking baby steps after the 98 loss season of 2014, the Tomas signing indicated the D-backs intended to be at least competitive right away. As for the player himself, it was unfair to try and think he could make a splash like fellow countryman Jose Abreu made for the Chicago White Sox the prior season. Tomas actually started 2015 at Triple A Reno after losing the third base battle to Jake Lamb.
It is hard to believe that a team with the market size of the Diamondbacks would send an almost $70 million dollar player to the Minors after he just signed with them. It was a short stay in Reno for Tomas as he was recalled on April 15th. Tomas ended up holding down the fort at third until Lamb was activated in June. After that, he would play primarily in right field in a three-headed outfield platoon with Ender Inciarte and David Peralta. Tomas was one of the top rookie hitters in the game with his average hovering above .300 for most of the season. Although the expectation was that he would hit with more power, Tomas still pounded out his share of extra base hits with 19 doubles, three triples and eight home runs.
Lingering concerns about Tomas’ conditioning grew as the season was winding down. His batting average, at .290 on August 28th finished the season at .273. Of course, one also has to take into account that the Cuban season has roughly half the amount of games as a Major League season. Tomas was also benched for half a game in the beginning of August for failing to hustle out a ground ball. Tomas is not exactly regarded as a tremendous defender either but with Peralta, Inciarte and A.J. Pollock around, he doesn’t have to be.
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Despite the tough finish, it was a successful rookie season for Tomas. It can be easy to forget life can be difficult for a player who jumps from a foreign land right to the Majors. There are so many different things to worry about, such as language barriers and customs that it can be a bit overwhelming even if the organization assigns someone to take care of basic necessities. That being said, you can make the argument that Tomas was only the fourth-best outfielder on the D-backs. With some better conditioning and a full season under his belt, we should see a much-improved Tomas in 2016. The D-backs have too much money invested in him to be anything less than a star.