The Arizona Diamondbacks, one of five National League teams above .500 at this point in the season, announced a pair of notable roster moves ahead of their game on Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics. The D-Backs optioned young outfielder Alek Thomas and recalled right-handed pitcher Luis Frias from Triple-A Reno.
Thomas, 23, isn’t far removed from being considered one of the top outfield prospects in the sport. He entered the 2022 season ranked in the top 40 by CBS Sports, Baseball America, and Baseball Prospectus, among other publications, and he subsequently spent most of the year in the majors. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to find his footing just yet. In more than 530 career plate appearances between 2022 and 2023, he’s amassed a .223/.270/.340 slash line (72 OPS+) with 10 home runs and seven stolen bases.
To be fair to Thomas, his performance against right-handers was decent. He hit .273/.329/.468 when he was granted the platoon advantage this season, as opposed to the .028/.079/.028 (that’s 1 for 36) he batted when he faced same-handed pitchers. The Diamondbacks have Corbin Carroll and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doing good work in the outfield, and have thus far received more mileage from rookie Dominic Fletcher than they may have expected over his first 15 games. As such, Thomas will head to Triple-A, where he’ll attempt to find his swing against lefties.
Thomas is the second promising outfielder the Diamondbacks have demoted to the minors this year. Back in April, they sent down Jake McCarthy after a disappointing 22-game stretch that saw him post a .467 OPS. McCarthy had asserted himself as one worth watching last year, when he hit .283/.342/.427 in 354 plate appearances in the majors.
Frias, 25 in a week, has already pitched in a pair of games with Arizona this year. In 20 career appearances, he’s compiled a 10.23 ERA (42 ERA+) and a 0.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio.