StaTuesday: Thames one of top April sluggers in MLB history

Being without Eric Thames, who tore the UCL in his left thumb, of course hasn’t helped the Milwaukee Brewers’ offense. Being without Thames for nearly a week in April really hurt.

Thames hit seven home runs in April, continuing his barrage of longballs in that month in his two years with the Brewers. His last game before landing on the disabled list was April 24, meaning he missed a few chances to add to his monthly total.

Despite missing that final week, Thames moved himself up the list on all-time home runs hit in April by a Brewers player thanks to the prodigious rate in which he swats ’em. Thames has climbed to 15th place on Milwaukee’s all-time list despite having played just 46 games in the season’s opening month (including contests in March; take away that month and he’s tied for 14th).

BREWERS ALL-TIME HR IN MARCH/APRIL

PLAYER G HR HR/PA
Ryan Braun 256 64 17.05
Geoff Jenkins 203 42 20.02
Jeromy Burnitz 116 30 16.03
Robin Yount 333 28 51.14
Rickie Weeks 209 28 31.93
Prince Fielder 148 26 25.15
Rob Deer 91 25 14.72
Gorman Thomas 135 23 21.61
Ben Oglivie 138 23 24.13
Greg Vaughn 102 23 18.00
Cecil Cooper 183 22 36.32
Paul Molitor 240 21 51.95
Bill Hall 120 20 21.40
Richie Sexson 76 19 17.21
Eric Thames 46 18 9.83

As you can see from the above chart, no one is even close to Thames in terms of home runs per plate appearance.

Going down the all-time Brewers HR list for April, you have to slide down to nine homers to find someone within four HR/PA of Thames (Danny Walton, 13.2) and to five HR for someone within one (Russell Branyan, 10.8).

The only players in Brewers history who have a better HR/PA rate than Thames in March/April are Angel Echevarria with two in 12 plate appearances and Eric Owens with one HR in nine PA.

In his two years with the Brewers, Thames has a slash line of .308/.418/.730 (an OPS of 1.148) in April. Thames also played in April with Toronto in 2012. While he didn’t put up the kind of numbers he has with the Brewers, Thames hit a respectable .308/.361/.446 that season.

Thames’ career slugging percentage in April only is .656. Only eight players in MLB history have a slugging percentage of .600 or better in that month (minimum 200 plate appearances) and Thames ranks ranks second all-time.

CAREER APRIL SLG% (min. 200 PA)

PLAYER G AB SLG
Aaron Judge 47 165 .685
Eric Thames 64 209 .656
Babe Ruth 192 811 .638
Barry Bonds 407 1345 .636
Mitch Haniger 46 170 .635
Bryce Harper 147 507 .625
Mark McGwire 249 828 .609
Ted Williams 148 468 .605
Jimmie Foxx 171 591 .599
Dick Allen 200 727 .593

If you include March statistics, Haniger moves to the top slot (.659) and Thames to No. 4 (.643). Other numbers which would change are Judge .655, Bonds .633, Harper .625 and McGwire .609.

But no matter how you slice it, Thames is one of the best April sluggers ever.

Dave Heller is the author of Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth’s Shadow (a Larry Ritter Book Award nominee), Facing Ted Williams – Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns