It was a breakout year in 2009 for Thomas Neal. The former 36th round draft choice, who signed for 4th round money, had a terrific line at Single A San Jose: .337 20 HR 90 RBI.
Neal went on to show that he has some speed as well as power in the Arizona Fall League. He led the league in stolen bases, and continued his hot hitting. 2010 didn't start that well for Thomas, as he was hit in the head with a pitch during his first spring training game. All appears well for Neal though, as the beaning was just a scare, and he was back in uniform the very next day and should be taking AB's in the next day or two.
I had a chance to participate in an online chat with SF Giants General Manager Brian Sabean, and here is what Sabean thinks of Neal's chances for 2010:
Sports Card Report: Your best guess as to what level Thomas Neal will start next season?
Giants GM Brian Sabean: Probably Double-A at the beginning of the year. Who knows at the end of the year where he'll end up. He played very well in the Arizona Fall League against older and more experienced players.
As of today, Thomas Neal doesn't have a whole lot of cards on the market. Look for some to pop up this year, especially if he continues to hit. Neal cracked Baseball America's 2010 Top 100 Prospect list, so that should help in getting him some hobby love.
See what Thomas Neal cards are on eBay.