Monday, July 18, 2011

Where are we on Eric Thames?

As part of my heartfelt desire to remain open-minded, I'm forcing myself to be confused with Eric Thames. What kind of a hitter is he? Can he stick at the big league level? He is the smileyest player since Torii Hunter?

Eric Thames numbers look pretty good, so far. A .948 OPS since his recall with 8 doubles and 4 home runs. The BABIP is still high .375 and the walks are still low with only two versus 18 strikeouts.

Over the weekend he bashed Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon before CC Sabathia made him look rather shameful. CC represents an incredibly tough matchup for the young lefy but then Phil Hughes sat him down three times yesterday.

The Sabathia troubles I get, the struggles against righties that worry me. How are right handed hitters getting him out?

(In case you aren't familiar with these charts, remember they're from the catcher's perspective. Thames is a left-handed batter so he stands on the right side of the image.)

Fastballs up in the zone, sliders and curveballs on his back foot and some change ups over the outside corner. Nothing too unexpected but the holes in his swing are as advertised.

I get a fair amount of flack for not believing in Eric Thames implicitly and, sadly, I can't get 100% behind him yet. Hopefully the team keeps playing him every day so we can all make a more informed decision at the end of the year - good, bad or indifferent.

Pitch F/X from Joe Lefkowitz, Getty Images photo from Daylife.


  1. I like Thames, but this is newbie luck... Really, the BABIP is way high and the league will figure him out followed by a serious regression and trip back to Vegas. The walk rate is a major concern in my view, but I'm gonna ride that smile as long as it goes!
    Also - he's big time trade bait right now IMO.

  2. He is the smileyest player since Torii Hunter?

    He is, is he?

    He might also be the veiniest player since Giambi. Those forearms are frightening.

  3. I feel like the bulk of us are just enjoying the early wave he's had. We'd rather see him playing than Juan Rivera and he's kept us interested enough in the Jays until Lawrie gets called up. I'm drinking some of the cool aid and hope he's a future masher, but at the same time he has a low ceiling like JPA.

  4. The power is real. The on-base is going to collapse this year, but I still think has long-term potential. Based on his minor league track record and that pretty swing (and some completely uneducated extrapolation), I'd hazard that he could fall somewhere between a left-handed Edwin and a same-handed Lind once he finds his level.


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