Quick Hit: Is Eric Thames Currently A Sell High Candidate?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While people thought that Eric Thames could enjoy a strong first season back in the United States, could anyone have imagined this type of start:

.408 (20-49), 7 HR, 12 RBI, 18 R

Now the question is if there’s any chance that he can come reasonably close to maintaining this production, or is he destined for a significant regression? Obviously he’s going to fall off a bit, but thinking that he’s going to disappear completely would be a mistake.

He’s not going to maintain a 46.7% HR/FB, but then again no one is going to hit 7 HR every two weeks. What he’s proven is that the power he showed while playing overseas can translate, and playing in Milwaukee a 30+ HR season is a very real possibility.

The bigger question comes from his average, where he’s benefited from a .419 BABIP. It’s a small sample size, but he’s hitting the ball extremely hard (52.6% Hard%), a good sign despite the expectations of a slump

Then we have his plate discipline:

  • Strikeout Rate – 19.0%
  • Walk Rate – 13.8%

Thames hasn’t been missing (7.3% SwStr%) and he hasn’t been chasing outside the strike zone (20.9% O-Swing%). More impressive, at least in the early going, is that he isn’t missing a significant amount against any type of pitch (Whiff%):

  • Hard – 7.18%
  • Breaking – 11.84%
  • Offspeed – 14.89%

It’s definitely possible that he starts to see fewer fastballs (61.32%), and he will then have to adjust. At the same time his early success against other pitches and the fact that Ryan Braun typically hits behind him (leading to more fastballs) means that a significant implosion isn’t likely.

In the early part of the season Thames is looking like one of the premier hitters in the game. As opponents get a book on the “new” Thames and adjust there is going to be a slump. At the same time what he’s shown thus far is extremely promising. He’s hitting for power, he’s hitting the ball hard and he’s showing an ability to make contact against all pitches.

Is he this good? No, but he’s promising just the same. I would never say never about selling high, but in most cases you likely won’t get enough value back.  Feel free to shop him, but don’t feel obligated to pull the trigger

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

Make sure to check out our Preseason 2017 Prospect Rankings:

Top 50 Prospects1-50
First Base1-10
Second Base1-10
Third Base1-10
Right Handed Pitchers:1-1011-20
Left Handed Pitchers:1-10


  1. Beans says:

    What’s a professor? This is my first of many questions this year. I first wanted to thank you for all of the articles. I literally read your stuff every single day for baseball and football advice. Keep up the good work. These add/drops or for standard H2H scoring. C- keep d’Arnaud and hope he stays on the field or pick up cervelli, hedges, pina, rupp or mesaroco? OF- keep owings or grab Souza, inciarte, mancini, soler or Margot? My RP is Giles. How hard should I be looking for someone else or do you think the saves are coming? As always thank you for your time.

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      Thanks for thesupport!

      C – I like d’Arnaud best but he’s already banged up and with the Mets calling up a 3rd catcher could ultimately land on the DL. I’d go Hedges and stream guys

      OF – Grab Margot w/o a second thoughy

      RP – Who knows what Houston is doing, but right now you have to ride it out

  2. CJ says:

    My biggest concern is for when/if Braun gets traded. Then there will be no reason to pitch to him. Thoughts?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      That is a concern, though they do have a few other bats and we’ve seen hitters produce with little protection before. The fact that he’s making good contact against non-fastballs does mean he should remain productive

  3. Simon Jones says:

    It’s staff question time…

    Nick and I were discussing Eric Thames earlier, and you know trading is never far from my mind. If you’re a Thames owner, what do you this is a fair return that would make you pull the trigger? 1-1 top 50 player? Top 100?

    • Rotoprofessor says:

      I honestly think, right now, you could probably get a Top 50 player for him. At the same time it depends on the player on if I’d pull the trigger. I was high on him entering the season and do believe he’ll continue on producing, so I don’t see him as a must sell by any stretch

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