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Is Eric Thames Worth a Look?

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, June 23, 2013 07:00 AM | Comments: 0
Analysis, Posts, Transactions

Eric Thames - Seattle MarinersEric Thames was designated for assignment yesterday by the Seattle Mariners to make room for the returning Franklin Gutierrez from the 60-day DL. Thames has not seen action in the Major Leagues yet in 2013 but has hit well in the Pacific Coast League for the Tacoma Rainiers (.295/.382/.479, 7 HR, 3 SB). Is Thames worth the phone call to Seattle?

What they would get

Thames, 26, is a lefty who flashed much power in 2010 for Double-A New Hampshire, which has fairly neutral park factors. Thames hit very well across five years in the minors, compiling a .309/.388/.525 line. Thames has shown flashes in the Majors as well, with a strong rookie campaign in 2011 with Toronto, hitting 12 HR with a .262/.313/.456 line in 394 PA.

Thames’ numbers slipped last year (.232/.273/.399 with nine HR in 290 PA), particularly after a mid-season trade to Seattle for Steve Delabar. Thames struck out one less time in 2012 than 2011 but almost matched his K total in over 100 less PAs.

Thames took advantage of the positive park factors in Las Vegas in his time in Triple-A for the Blue Jays but, as a 26-year old this year, has done well in a home park that slightly suppresses runs in Tacoma.

What would it take to acquire Thames?

Thames was traded last year for a struggling young reliever who was being pigeon-holed as a Quad-A type pitcher. That pitcher? Delabar, who has a 1.75 ERA and is now a member of the suddenly scolding hot Toronto Blue Jays bullpen. The Phillies could likely get Thames for a player like a healthy Mike Stutes or someone better than B.J. Rosenberg.

Would he fit?

Thames has a pretty severe platoon split: 17 of Thames’ 21 homers have come against righties and has a 50+ point differential in each of the three triple-slash categories. Thames has an almost identical line against righties that Laynce Nix does: .261/.307/.446 for Thames v. .251/.296/.442 for Nix.

Thames does not turn 27 until November so there is potential for Thames to get better but for now, he’s pretty similar to Nix. In a very small sample size (138 PA), Thames hit just .210/.257/.377 against righties.

Thames has played around 2/5 of his career Major League games in right field and, according to his small UZR sample, is suited better for right field. Thames would be a better right fielder than say Darin Ruf but would be pretty comparable to Leandro Castro who is currently in right field for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Thames is worth a look, as he likely has a bit more potential and room to grow if given regular playing time in MLB. However, best case, he is a lefty version of John Mayberry‘s 2011 season and even that is a long shot. The Phillies currently have a near-identical player on the roster in Nix that is not receiving any playing time in a platoon. Acquiring Thames would not be a great move unless they were committed to a full platoon in right field and the Phillies under Charlie Manuel lack the track record to believe they would start now.

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About Ian Riccaboni

Ian Riccaboni has written 867 articles on Phillies Nation.

Ian's athletic achievements include getting stuffed by NBA center Aaron Gray in high school and hitting .179 over four years for NYU against D-III, NAIA, JuCo, and NCBA schools. Ian hopes his athletic successes will help him achieve his dream of becoming the underground Bob Uecker.

 
 
 
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