Eric Thames (14) misses catching a fly ball. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE
We are past the 40 game mark and Eric Thames still isn't hitting much, .252/.299/.378. I've always been of the opinion that if you can't get on base more than 30% of the time, you aren't helping. Add in that Eric is supposed to be a power hitting and he's not even slugging .400.
The thing he is doing well is striking out, about 26% of the time. He's not hitting line drives at the same rate as last year (18.2% compared to 22.7%). Ground balls are up. Infield singles are up too, 15.1% compared to 5.4% last year. I don't think of Eric as a guy that gets a lot of infield singles, but he's at the same percentage as Brett Lawrie.
His defense has been nothing short of awful. All spring we were told how much better he was going to be. He's improved his reads on balls. He's improved his arm. He's so much better. Well, he isn't any better. His UZR/150 is -34.2, even worse than last year's -22.5, but then UZR needs more time to balance out.
The eye test? Wrong day to ask. He really frustrated me yesterday. He dives at ball when he has no chance to catch them, that really bugs me. If you have no shot at making a catch, you are far better off to be on your feet so you can chase it down. He takes strange routes to balls. Rolling balls, he doesn't get in front of, he lets them go past and chases them to the wall. They are easier to pick up after they hit the wall and stop rolling. His arm? He doesn't throw well, but the bigger problem is that he doesn't throw to cutoff men. You don't need a good arm in left, but you have to get the ball to the cut off man. Yesterday Hugo said that he never thought we'd look back fondly on Adam Lind's defense.
What can we do:
- Unfortunately Travis Snider is on the DL. Wrist injuries aren't fun, unfortunately he's going to have to show that he can hit when he gets back off the DL.
- My twitter feed is full of call up Anthony Gose. I can't see it, why add him to the 40-man now. He didn't start off well in Vegas, though he's been pretty good in May, .321/.402/.524. I really can't see calling him up to play left. It seems like a waste of his defense.
- Moises Sierra is on the 40-man, I think he's be the same sort of hitter that Eric is, but with better defense. He hit well in April .292/.370/.472, not so much in May .247/.315/.358.
- Put Rajai Davis in left and Eric on the bench. If Rajai could hit right handers at all, I'd be all for hit. He's 0 for 8 since the 2 home run game. SSS and all, but it looks like he is swinging from his heels.
- Could put Ben Francisco in left, other than he'd likely hit about the same as Eric is, at best. At least with Eric you could hope for better. His defense should be a little better though.
Beyond those choices, I don't know. I think we are stuck with Eric until Travis is ready to go. Let's hope for less days like yesterday.
What would you do?