Best San Francisco Giants of the 2010s: 45. Kelby Tomlinson
By Joel Reuter
Utility man Kelby Tomlinson was a solid contributor for the San Francisco Giants in a part-time role during his four years with the team.
The San Francisco Giants selected Kelby Tomlinson in the 12th round of the 2011 MLB draft out of Texas Tech University.
After two years at Seward County CC in Kansas, Tomlinson joined the Red Raiders and hit .307/.415/.372 with 10 extra-base hits and 21 steals while manning shortstop.
He reached Single-A in his pro debut and he was hitting .321/.376/.414 with 26 extra-base hits in 97 games between Double-A and Triple-A in 2015 before making his MLB debut.
Tomlinson hit .303/.358/.404 with 11 extra-base hits in 54 games after getting the call that year, earning 46 starts at second base down the stretch while posting 0.9 WAR.
All told, he hit .282/.350/.351 for a 91 OPS+ and 1.9 WAR in his first three seasons in the majors, and he provided steady defense at second base, shortstop and third base.
His production dropped off last season when he batted just .207/.265/.264 with six extra-base hits in 152 plate appearances for -0.1 WAR, and he was outrighted off the 40-man roster this past offseason.
He opted for free agency and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks, joining their Triple-A affiliate before he was released on May 12.
On June 1, he caught on with the Seattle Mariners, and all told he’s posted a .238/.299/.299 line with 17 extra-base hits in 344 plate appearances at the Triple-A level.
He was never an impact player and it remains to be seen if he’ll make it back to the MLB level, but Tomlinson made good as a late-round pick with JUCO background by ever reaching the majors at all.
His production is a testament to the organization’s ability to develop talent and find contributors beyond the scope of just the scope of top-tier prospects throughout the 2010s.
Check back here regularly as we count down the 50 best San Francisco Giants of the 2010s.