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Francisco makes jump from college to pros

SUN. | 10-31-21 | SPORTS

     In the 19th round of the 2021 Major League Baseball (MLB) draft with the 571st overall pick, the St. Louis Cardinals selected first baseman and outfielder Thomas Francisco out of East Carolina University (ECU).

     His time at East Carolina was very successful with the excitement, energy, and large crowds at games. Since being drafted, Francisco has had a standout year in the minors.

     ¨It first hit me when I ran out onto the field for the first time," Francisco said. "I love baseball and being able to play for a job is very humbling."

     Francisco’s first experience with minor league baseball was July 25th in West Palm Beach Florida where he debuted with the Low-A Cardinals. This was what he had always dreamed of, and for it to now be his job was a goal he has worked for his whole life.

     Francisco grew up in Abingdon, VA where his dad coached him in high school. After high school, Francisco committed to East Carolina University to continue and improve his baseball career and reach his dream of becoming a big leaguer.

     ¨I was a part of two Regional Championship teams during my time at East Carolina," Francisco says.

     His successful career at ECU gave him the opportunity to lead his team to victory and gave them an opportunity to play against Vanderbilt in the super regional. Unfortunately their season came to an end due to COVID. The successes that he achieved in college and rookie ball led him to achieve something even greater as a rookie.

     ¨My biggest achievement was being promoted to High-A," Francisco said. "I was ecstatic when I found out that I was being promoted.¨ 

     This achievement for Francisco proved to be well deserving as he had a slash line of .294/.370/.807.

     He was playing in Jupiter, FL for the West Palm Beach Cardinals in Low-A during the month of August. His success at the plate gave him the opportunity to play for the Peoria Chiefs in Illinois for the remainder of the season. During his first game in Illinois, Francisco hit a 2-run home run to take the lead in the 8th inning.

     ¨The biggest challenge was COVID-19 and maneuvering

Thomas Francisco.png

Graphic by Jay Tyndall

our way around a pandemic during the season," Francisco said.

     Francisco and his teammates still had to take this pandemic seriously by taking precautions and making sure that they would not contract the virus.

     His teams in Peoria and West Palm Beach did not get shut down so they did not have to stop practicing.

     ¨I am not sure where I will start out next season,¨ Francisco said.¨I will be assigned after spring training and I am currently doing my off-season work at ECU.¨

     The hard work that will take place leading up to spring training will benefit the way Francisco plays next season and his overall performance. This will also benefit his health and stamina for the next season. 

     ¨My biggest takeaway is I'm so thankful to be playing professional baseball," Francisco said. As long as I keep working hard and have fun I'm going to have a great career.¨

     Francisco’s dedication to this sport has proven that he is on track to make it to the majors. He also remains humble and proves to people that he has a bright future ahead.

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