Ka’ai Tom was an intriguing player when the Oakland A’s added him as part of their Rule V Draft haul this past year. He had performed at every level, but had only 51 games of experience in Triple-A. With the pandemic, he was unable to continue his development, with the Indians deciding to make him available.
At this point, it does not appear that Cleveland will be getting him back. Tom has continued to hit for the A’s in spring training, with eight hits and two walks in his 18 plate appearances. He has chipped in throughout the stat line, with two doubles, a triple, a homer, and five RBI heading into Tuesday.
Ka’ai Tom has done nothing but hit
That production should not be much of a surprise. Tom has done nothing but hit regardless of the level he has played at, producing a .270/.360/.444 batting line with 103 doubles and 49 homers in his 1989 minor league plate appearances.
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Tom also appeared to have come into his power in that 2019 season. He had a combined 23 homers and 27 doubles between Double-A and Triple-A that year, along with a career best .912 OPS. For a player that had demonstrated the ability to hit, draw walks, and make contact at an impressive rate, that pop was all that had been missing.
The Indians could have theoretically used a player such as Tom. They have struggled to find production in their outfield over the past few years, and his ability to play all three positions would have been beneficial. But sometimes, it is easy to overlook the answers that are right in front of you.
Cleveland’s loss is the A’s gain. Tom has the potential to be the A’s latest Rule V Draft find, a solution as their fourth outfielder and someone that could eventually become a key part of their future. He has hit everywhere else, so it would not be a surprise to see him continue to perform well in the majors.
Ka’ai Tom will be breaking camp as part of the Oakland A’s Opening Day roster. The Cleveland Indians loss is the A’s gain.