Player Focus 6.17.08

Marcus Thames Displaying Elite Power
That headline is actually nothing new. Marcus Thames has been a bona fide, top of the line power threat. In fact, during his 12 seasons covering both the minor and major leagues, Thames has a .224 Isolated Power in 4351 at-bats. When you go a step further and parse it down to just his 1088 major league at-bats yields a .262 Iso, that’s more than Hank Aaron and Ken Griffey Jr. I don’t mention that to imply he’s anywhere close to the player those gentlemen are and were, rather to give you an idea of the kind of power this guy has in that bat. More topical to today’s Player Focus is the fact that Thames’ last seven hits have been home runs, including numbers 11 and 12 tonight in San Francisco.

The Carlos Guillen Outfield Experiment appears to have been short-lived and Brent Clevlen doesn’t yet have the skills to produce consistently at the major league level meaning there should be at-bats available for Thames either out in left field or at designated hitter for the foreseeable future. In only 18 of the 32 games he played in from April 3rd to June 1st did he get three or more at-bats. His recent streak has included 11 such instances. Seeing 26 and 18 home runs in 348 and 269 at-bat seasons in 2006 and 2007 leaves many to wonder what he could do with 450+ at-bats. (For the record, those seasons pace out to 34 and 30 home runs with 450 at-bats).

For more on Thames, check out this piece over at Fantasy Baseball Generals…

Speaking of Enormous Power Potential…
Remember when Ryan Howard was up for 2008 Fantasy Disappointment of the Season? Perhaps it was during his May low point when he had a .163/.286/.333 with six home runs in 123 at-bats. That was May 7th and he might’ve been available for pennies on the dollar. After joining Marcus Thames and Carlos Beltran in the two-home run club tonight, that is no longer the case. Well, it hasn’t been the case for awhile now, but tonight’s effort that gives him four home runs and 13 RBIs in his last four games seals it.

This is one of the countless examples of the adage “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” with regards to the baseball season. Yet every year, fantasy players across the nation will desperately look for reasons why their stud is struggling and try to justify selling low instead of giving established players a legitimate shot to do what they do best. Injury concerns and/or age are about the only things that could get me to give up on an established, but struggling hitter before June. There are exceptions to just about everything, but 29-year old former MVPs don’t just lose it and Howard has shown that in the past month & 10 days.

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