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Pirates Claim Justin Thomas From Mariners

Like Vlad in the comments to a fanshot on this subject (and thanks for taking care of that for me; it's been a busy workday), I wonder how long newly acquired lefty reliever Justin Thomas will still be on the 40-man roster. The Pirates claimed him off waivers from the Mariners, and while he's a fairly interesting player, he might not need to be on any team's 40-man right now. 

Thomas was drafted in 2005, but he was already 21 when drafted, so he was a bit old for most of his levels. Still, he zipped through the low minors with very good strikeout rates. Unfortunately, he doesn't have blazing stuff--he relies very heavily on his slider and on changing speeds with his fastball, which leads me to guess that his solid numbers at the low levels had more to do with maturity and with low-minors hitters' general inability to hit breaking balls than with talent. 

Thomas took a long time to adjust to AA--his entire 2007 season there was awful--and he had a terrible season at Class AAA Tacoma in 2009, walking 40 batters in 60 innings in his first full season as a reliever. Maybe the Pirates' scouts see something here they like, and since Thomas throws tons of breaking balls he might someday be an adequate LOOGY (lefty one-out guy) in the bigs. But that seems unlikely without more time in the minors to work things out, and "adequate LOOGY" isn't the sort of upside one wants from a guy who's taking up a spot on the 40-man without contributing immediately. So Vlad might be right that at some point this winter, the Bucs will quietly try to send Thomas to the minors and hope no one claims him. He'd be a nice player to have at Indianapolis--they need lefties right now.

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A little unrelated administrative note: I'd really, really appreciate it if people would stop using "PBC Blog" as a slur. I'm certainly not going to ban or officially warn anyone for that alone, but it's happened enough here that it's 1) a cliche and 2) it seems very strange to attack posters for having knee-jerk opinions by knee-jerkingly telling them to go to the PBC Blog. There are better ways to disagree, including either ignoring the post that bothers you or substantively responding to it.