There are two young men (well, young for most of you) that some people on this site can't decide between. The one with the bad year, the injuries, and two demotions, or the one who wasn't expected to do anything this year, but came up and posted respectable numbers while bouncing once or twice between AAA and the majors. I present, to the denizens of Bluebird Banter, Eric Thames and Travis Snider.
Snider: Drafted in the 1st round, 2006. 23 years old. Got his first taste at the ripe old age of 20. Certainly had a down year this year - started poorly, started pressing a little too hard, and got sent down. Spent time in AAA reworking his swing, and against some people's predictions, worked his way back up. Started hitting well again, hit a slump, and once again, sent down, as Thames was performing better at the time (if only very slightly). Developed wrist tendinitis and his season ended early. In 49 games this year, he hit .225/.269./.348, with 3 HRs and 30 RBIs. He walked 11 times, struck out 56 times. 14 doubles, no triples. All in 187 ABs. Basically J.P. Arencibia with much less power. Anyone who watched the games this year saw that Travis was terrible. The only saving grace I have for his season this year is that if it was pro-rated for a 162-game season, he would have 99 RBIs. I like that number, but RBIs don't tell you the whole story of how a player is performing, as we all know (or should know by now). His career numbers look like this: .248/.307/.423, with 28 HRs, 104 RBIs, 66 BBs, 236 Ks, 54 doubles and one triple in 799 ABs. His career numbers show (to me) a higher walk rate, far more power, and a K rate that is right about the same. Defensively, there have been no complaints and a couple of fine plays when he was out there.
Thames: Drafted in the 7th (thanks, Alan F.) round, 2008. 24 years old. Began this year in AAA, but got a couple shots this year and has done well - at least, has done better than the Corey Patterson/Juan Rivera crapshow we had earlier. Started well, hit a rough patch, finished right about in the middle. His numbers were as follows - .263/.314/.457, 12 HRs, 36 RBIs, 23 BBs, 86 Ks, 23 doubles, 5 triples, all in 357 plate appearances. Not bad, Mr. Thames, not bad. Defensively he made a few very nice plays in LF, but doesn't have the positional flexibility offered by Snider. That was a long way of saying no CF for Eric.
All things being equal (and by all things, I mean ABs), Thames has a better slash line, fewer Ks, and far more triples. Snider beats Thames in HRs, RBIs, walks, and doubles (as well as better stolen base stats, although I didn't include these, mostly because Thames shouldn't be running with all the hitting in front of Jose Bautista that he does.) Defensively, most people agree that Snider>Thames.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I present the question to you: Travis Snider or Eric Thames?
My pick? Travis Snider. It's far too early to be giving up on the higher-upside player.
Discuss in the comments.