Raise your hand if you expected Milwaukee Brewers’ first baseman Eric Thames to be leading the show in home runs, two weeks into the season. Nobody?
Thames, a 30-year-old former MLB washout who’s spent the past three season socking dingers in the Korean Baseball Organization, signed a three-year contract with Milwaukee this offseason. The Brewers believed so much in Thames they opted to pass on re-signing Chris Carter, who slugged 41 home runs, in favor of signing the KBO star to a $16 million contract. So far, their investment has been justified.
— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) April 18, 2017
Thames has recorded hits in his last 10 games, homering in five straight, while scoring a ridiculous 11 runs in last five contests. The former Blue Jay has done more than just hit for power. On the season, Thames is batting a robust .405 with a .479 OBP, a robust 1.479 OPS, seven home runs, and 12 RBI. Unquestionably, he’s been the catalyst of the Brewers offense, helping the rebuilding squad to a surprising 8-6 start.
Now, Thames is a good story, but, the numbers are of course unsustainable. Thames won’t hit 81 home runs, nor will he get on base in half his at-bats over a full season. He’s bound to slow down and regress to the 25-30 home run, high-strikeout slugger he’s profiled as. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy seeing Thames return to the MLB.
Coming back to the MLB and dominating so quickly was about the least likely scenario for Thames. For a player who once couldn’t prove he belonged on a 25-man roster, he’s slowly emerging as the best story in this young season—and more importantly, a bonafide slugger and a roster player.
Ride the wave, Brewers fans. Thames epic production won’t last, but your team might have found a serious power threat in a very unlikely place.