Tuesday, September 09, 2003
The really great players make adjustments later in their careers and Frank Thomas is one of the great ones. With 39 homers and roughly three weeks left in the season Thomas should be able to eclipse his previous high of 43 homers in a season and, if he gets hot, has an outside shot at 50. (My guess is he'll end up with about 45 or so.) And the guy still walks a ton; with an OBP of .388 only Jason Giambi and Carlos Delgado take a free pass more often. (Thomas is tied in BB with Durazo at 91.)
But as Frank Thomas has gotten older and his bat has slowed, he has gone to the sacrificial altar and offered up to the baseball Gods all that which lies between his walks and homers; his doubles and singles. With only 27 doubles so far this season, Thomas will probably not reach his career average of 38 doubles per season and won't really come close to his career high of 46 two baggers. And with 126 hits he'll be way off his career high of 191 hits in a season. (career avg of 181 hits over a full-season.) As a result his SLG% which sits at a very impressive .561, still won't come close to his strike shortened season SLG% of .729(!). In addition Frank has also played 27 games at 1B this year, filling in when Konerko was having that awful awful start, and in those 27 games made only 1 error. That's a noteworthy contribution from a DH.
So if you aren't picking A-Rod for MVP this year then I think you should give Frank Thomas some serious consideration. (He'll also get some stiff competition from his team mate Maglio Ordonez.) And at least let this season put to rest the notion that Edgar Martinez is the greatest DH of all-time.