Milwaukee Brewers slugger Eric Thames is on a roll as the first month of the season creeps towards a close. Now with ten homers, Thames has a chance to at least tie the big league record of 14 homers in April.
Around this time last week, much of the conversations on the baseball outlets were centered around Eric Thames. This morning at work I saw Cincinnati Reds pitcher Amir Garrett featured at least a couple of times ahead of his start against the Brew Crew. As you can tell by the headline, last night didn’t go Garrett’s way.
In the first inning Thames smacked his 9th homer of the season of the rookie left-hander, and one inning later, the man they called “god” overseas became the first player in the big leagues to reach double digit bombs. Just the way the Milwaukee Brewers’ front office drew it up when they signed Thames to a three year, $15M deal with an option for a fourth year at $7.5M according to Baseball Reference.
As I mentioned last week after Thames’ big weekend against these same Reds, there is a good chance that the slugger will have outplayed his contract by the time the All-Star break rolls around. Well, I was wrong. Once the stats are updated on FanGraphs, Thames should be pushing right up against the full value of his three year deal, all well before reaching 100 plate appearances for the year.
Before his latest two homer game on Monday, FanGraphs had Thames as a 1.5 WAR player, which works out to $12M in value if you believe that one win above replacement is worth roughly $8M. To exceed the $15M mark, he’d have to accumulate a 1.9 WAR across three seasons. He’ll be pressed right up against that number entering play on Tuesday.
While it surely hasn’t been the only cause for his success, playing the Reds certainly hasn’t hurt Thames’ case for worldwide dominance. In five games against them, he now has seven home runs and 11 RBI. That’s a good amount of his 10 homers and 17 driven in, so how he adjusts to playing other teams will certainly be something to keep an eye on. If the early returns are any indication, just playing the Reds 57 times over the course of three seasons will make the deal worth it for Milwaukee, while any other production he provides in the other 400+ games in that span will just be an added bonus.