Yes, ThamesGraphs is still in full force. I’ll write about someone else eventually.
You know the Thames story by now. You probably also know that a lot of it has been written against the Cincinnati Reds. The Brewers have played seven games against the Reds already, and in those seven games, Thames has launched 8 of his 11 home runs. He’s slugging 1.400 against them, and it’s easy to dismiss his early success as just mashing bad pitching. After all, the Reds just set the all-time record for home runs allowed last year, and their current staff is missing Anthony Desclafani, their best starting pitcher. We have the Reds projected as the worst rotation in baseball.
So since this comes up so often, I figure we might as well show what he’s doing against everyone else. Here’s Eric Thames‘ 2017 batting line if you eliminate the seven games against Cincinnati.
If Thames had been benched for all of the games against the Reds, he’d still rank 9th in MLB in wRC+. And, of course, that’s without taking away any results from anyone else because we deemed part of their competition too weak to include in the calculations.
Yes, Thames destroyed the Reds. He also destroyed the Cubs, Rockies, Cardinals, and Blue Jays. The 8 of 11 home runs is a nice headline stat, but the reality is that Thames has hit against good and bad pitching this year, and his numbers haven’t been that heavily inflated by facing weak pitching early. Facing the Reds a bunch has helped, but he’s doing work against everyone.
Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.