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Determining the fit for Eric Thames on the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019

Look, you never have to try out to offer me on Eric Thames. From his potential to sing to his long run occupation in the sporting activities amusement industry, there is a lot to love about the male. Moreover, just search at that facial hair. But as the 2019 season approaches, it’s hard to discover in which Thames matches on this Milwaukee Brewers workforce. Possibly he will get traded prior to the season begins, but that is even a lot more hard to imagine at this place. That said, we’re not going to faux to know what David Stearns is up to. Final time we thought we had all the solutions, he went out and signed Yasmani Grandal.

So that provides us to the current, in which we’re making an attempt to figure out what to hope from Thames in 2019. By all accounts he’s a incredible particular person to have in the clubhouse, and that should count for anything. Specifically when you take into account how considerably enjoyment this workforce had in 2018. It’s just that for all of the enjoyment times, which includes but surely not limited to his homages to Stone Cold Steve Austin and Ric Aptitude, his general 2018 generation just didn’t measure up.

Permit us not fail to remember that Thames went scorched-Earth to commence the 2017 campaign, slashing an otherworldly .345/.466/.810 while crushing 11 household runs and racking up a absurd 1.276 OPS across 24 April game titles. Naturally, his numbers would drop. How could they not? Not even Jon Dowd of MVP Baseball lore was that unstoppable. Nevertheless while the regression monster was sure to arrive for Thames, it didn’t all crumble at once. Pursuing his April ability surge, the slugging lefty strike three household runs in only seven fewer May at-bats. His plate willpower remained, nevertheless, as proven by his 16-22 stroll to strikeout ratio and .375 on-foundation share.

That willpower fell off sharply for considerably of the relaxation of the season nevertheless, with Thames in the long run slashing his way to a line of .227/.324/.464 with 17 dingers from June 1 as a result of Oct 1. Continue to, his previously mentioned common 2nd-50 percent OPS (.794) and promising September (.328/.431/.574) delivered a lot of encouragement as Milwaukee’s season arrived to a close. His 125 wRC+ saw him rank 13th between all 1st basemen that calendar year. Not to point out, a 2.1 fWAR all through his 1st season in the majors since 2012 was nothing at all to scoff at.

Then when the 2018 season at last did commence, Thames once all over again did a lot of mashing. Across 22 game titles amongst March and April (76 plate appearances), he slashed .250/.351/.625 with seven household runs en route to an exceptional .976 OPS. But the breakout of fellow 1st baseman Jesús Aguilar coupled with a thumb personal injury that needed surgery severely slice into his actively playing time the relaxation of the way.

Thames gained just 204 plate appearances for the remainder of the season, hitting just .208/.289/.426 (.715 OPS) with 9 household runs across them. He was in the long run remaining off Milwaukee’s postseason roster. In the meantime Aguilar burst on to the scene in a major way, slashing .274/.352/.539 with 35 dingers en route to 3.1 fWAR and 134 wRC+ – the latter rating him fourth between all 1st basemen. He even gained himself some MVP thought, finishing 16th in the voting while teammate Christian Yelich claimed the best honor. Pointless to say, Aguilar is Milwaukee’s setting up 1st baseman going ahead. And that puts Thames in a hard location.

But it’s not just because of Aguilar’s breakout season that will most likely lead to a lower in actively playing time for the lefty in 2019.

One could place to the departures of outfielders Domingo Santana and Keon Broxton this offseason and figure that Thames will get a lot more actively playing time there in 2019, still with Ben Gamel now in town it’s hard to see that becoming the scenario. So alternatively, would the Brewers take into account a platoon at 1st foundation? Nicely that is most likely off the table as effectively, as Aguilar strike an spectacular .271/.341/.535 with 26 of his 35 household runs coming off proper-handed pitching. Other than your odd day off, it’s his occupation to eliminate. Barring personal injury or a severe dip in generation, it’s going to be hard for Thames to take at-bats absent from Aguilar.

Moreover, Thames doesn’t carry considerably value defensively possibly. In 137 game titles at 1st foundation for the Brewers over these final two many years, Baseball Reference has him at -7 defensive runs saved. In 132 game titles at 1st baseman final season, Aguilar completed with a mark of +6 defensive runs saved. Hunting at his 66 outfield appearances over the previous two seasons, Thames completed with a mark of -3 defensive runs saved. Yet again, barring personal injury or significant dips in generation from elsewhere, it’s hard to imagine in which his at-bats will arrive from.

Thames, who turned 32 many years outdated in November, carries with him a value tag of $6 million in 2019. When that is not a complete large amount, it may possibly be a major sufficient figure to reduce Milwaukee from building 1 a lot more addition this offseason. But to repeat, there is no use in making an attempt to guess what Slingin’ Stearns is up to. We’re just not going to participate in that game in this area.

From a baseball and roster overall flexibility standpoint nevertheless, anything tells me the Brewers would transfer him if they could. Some thing also tells me that a basic search at his 2018 campaign is a pretty superior indicator that his industry most likely isn’t as well robust at the instant. And that is wonderful as well. The Brewers never will need to transfer him. After all, the departures of Santana and Broxton make this clubhouse a little less enjoyment in 2019. Luckily, Thames has a lot of persona to spare.

If his previous two Aprils are any sign, he is going to give Milwaukee a lot to cheer about when the season begins – assuming he will get a opportunity to, that is. Ideally what follows in the months soon after that is a reversal of fortune from his two prior seasons.

Figures courtesy of Baseball Reference and Fangraphs

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