Shpigel writes how Thole would work on his hitting "inside a converted hayloft, on the second floor of a barn" which was owned by Rakers' family. "It had all the essentials — an L screen, a black protective net and a hitting tee — and the aroma of cow manure."
When the season began and Rakers left for minor league ball, Thole would head to the barn by himself and take cuts and work on his swing for hours upon hours.
“The one thing I’ve always said is that I’m going to give the organization every reason to like me. I’m going to work my butt off. If things don’t work out, that’s part of life, part of baseball.”Thole had his best season with St. Lucie last year, hitting .300 (104-for-347) with 5 homers, 56 RBI, 45 BB, 38 SO, and a .382 OBP in 111 games.
Here is an animated version of the catcher taking BP, posted by MetsBlog's Matthew Cerrone a few days ago:
no one doubts that Thole hits extremely well for a catcher, but the question remains whether his defense can come up to a level where a team feels comfortable playing him there on the ML level... he has a good work ethic and is dedicated to improving, something the organization has taken notice of... he'll most likely begin the season with Double-A Binghamton... Toby ranked Josh as the 16th best prospect in the organization earlier this month...