The San Diego Padres have a talented young outfielder named Taylor Lomack, and he is very eager to prove his worth.
Woken up every morning in high school at 6:00 am by his former NFL playing father, Taylor Lomack learned early about work ethic and going the extra mile.
Tony Lomack was drafted in the 9th-round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He played in three games that year for the Rams and played the next season for the Phoenix Cardinals. Not the most glorious of NFL careers, but still very respectful for a 5-foot-8 receiver out of a small school like Tallahassee Community College.
The elder Lomack and his teenage son would wake up early every day and workout running sprints on the local high school track. “He pushes me every day to get better,” Taylor Lomack said about his father. “My dad is very competitive. Every day he really wants me to win. I think I got my competitiveness from him because I really like winning too,” Lomack said. The duo is very close, and that fatherly bond helps Taylor with his new life as a professional athlete. “I truly appreciate him for everything he has done for me.”
Taylor had a very nice start to his professional career. He put up a .814 OPS in 39 games at the AZL level. His .343/.405/.409 batting line was very respectful for a first-year player. The 20-year-old has raw skills, and that is why the Padres used a 24th round selection on Lomack this past June.
The draft was a crazy process for Lomack. He had a choice to make before the draft, as Jacksonville University wanted him to continue his collegiate career there. “It was very exciting. My mom was hoping I was going to be drafted by San Diego,” Lomack said, laughing. She loves the city of San Diego and has always liked the Padres as a franchise. “I had a lot of pro teams looking at me before the draft. I just wanted to be a Padre. That was one of my favorite teams growing up,” Taylor said. He communicates that the Padres first contacted him in March as the team began the process of learning about Lomack.
Being selected by the Padres was tremendous, but he still had to choose between going to school or heading to Arizona to begin his pro career. “It was very tough (the choice). I am a very good student. Growing up, I always wanted to finish college. In the end, my dad felt I was ready, and I just had to go,” Lomack said. He did say that he promised his mom he would return at some point to finish his theatre/education degree. As a child, Lomack appeared in the movie Barbershop. The multi-talented player has a love of the arts and wants to write movies eventually when his playing career is all said and done.
Upon arriving in Arizona, Lomack got a rude awakening about life as a professional ballplayer. “It was a learning curve. When you get there, you see that there is a lot of talent around,” Lomack admitted. “I just had to go there and stay confident. I used each day to get better,” Lomack said. He may have been slightly intimidated at first, but he did not show it with his play on the field. “I started to figure it out, and it took off from there,” Lomack said with confidence.
He earned a reputation with the young Latino players in camp, and they even nicknamed him “The Machine” as Lomack seemed to get a hit every day. “I love them all. They just love playing baseball. They are very competitive too,” Lomack said about his Latino teammates. He even admits that he is learning a little Spanish. Anything to make him a better player and a better teammate.
The minor league life is a problematic grind that Lomack has yet to feel. He spent his first half-year in Arizona, and it is not like what he will need to endure through the lower levels of the minors. “I am really looking forward to it. I want to work hard every day and play,” Lomack said eagerly. He admits that he cannot wait for the spring as he anticipates a spot on a full-season team. There is a lot of energy from the speedy Lomack when he speaks about the game of baseball. He truly loves the sport.
When speaking about baseball and where the love comes from- it’s simple for him. “I just always loved swinging the bat,” Lomack said. At the age of three, he picked up the bat and played with kids almost twice his age. He has not put the bat down since. The right-handed hitter takes pride in putting the ball in play. He speaks of beating out base hits and using his speed. “Contact is important to me,” Lomack said, though he does admit he does not choke up on the bat with two strikes. He still needs improvement in the area but is not opposed to the hard work that will be necessary to quicken up his swing.
Speed is a huge element for Lomack. The outfielder loves stealing bases as he swiped 11 in the AZL. “When I steal a base, it is a really good feeling. I was thrown out my first time (in AZL), and I realized it wasn’t like college,” Lomack said. The numbers behind the art of the steal are significant. Little by little, he is absorbing all the information the coaches are handing out. “It is different learning all the numbers,” Lomack admits. The growth of a player goes far beyond natural ability. They must learn to utilize the tools that are handed to them.
Bunting is something that needs improvement for the outfielder. Laying down a bunt every once in a while and utilizing his speed will only make him more valuable. “The Padres are working with me on bunting. When I was in college, we didn’t really work on that. They wanted me just to swing away,” Lomack said. The team is also working with the Georgia native on improving arm strength. The Padres want to use him in centerfield, and there are some questions about his arm strength. Not a big deal for the outfielder. “I just keep throwing every day and keep doing my arm drills,” Lomack said. The Padres also want him to maintain his speed as that is an essential element of his game.
His goals for 2020 are to stay healthy and maybe meet his idol Lorenzo Cain of the Milwaukee Brewers. Cain is a significant influence on Lomack as he molds his game after the tremendous centerfielder. Not a bad player to model your game after. In time, Taylor Lomack could prove to be a useful prospect. He has a long road to go, but his competitive edge and drive for success should take him far in the game of baseball. His dad will be sure of that fact.