The Rule 5 draft pick is finally on the board, as a hitter this time!
The Oakland A’s didn’t produce many highlights in their 10-3 shellacking at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday, but there was one particularly memorable moment.
Rookie outfielder Ka’ai Tom notched his first career hit during an 8th-inning rally, and with it his first RBI.
Tom came to the A’s last winter as a Rule 5 draft pick and earned his way onto the Opening Day roster, making his MLB debut on Thursday. However, he went hitless in his first nine at-bats — hardly noticeable amid an Oakland lineup that has struggled to score at all in its first five games.
To increase the pressure, Tom was called on to pitch a mopup inning on Sunday, and despite completing a scoreless frame he did allow an infield single along the way. That means he gave up a hit as a pitcher before getting one as a hitter.
After starting Monday’s game 0-for-3, he got one more chance against the Dodgers “mopup man,” former Cy Young lefty David Price. Tom came up with runners on first and second and two out, and despite being at the platoon disadvantage he still lined a fastball up the middle for a clean single. Stephen Piscotty scored on the play.
It wasn’t hit particularly hard, at 82.3 mph exit velocity, but it was enough contact to get the job done. And it was enough to give him a batting average — it might be just .100 for now, but that’s a step up from all zeroes, and something to build on moving forward.
Congrats to Tom on his first MLB hit!