It’s no secret that Eric Thames has seen his playing time diminish significantly during the second half. Should the Milwaukee Brewers make the playoffs, would he be deserving of making the playoff roster?
Eric Thames was removed from his duty as starting first baseman early in the season after his thumb injury kept him out for over a month and Jesus Aguilar started putting up consistent results.
Then he got most of his starts in the outfield, just as a way to keep his powerful bat in the lineup. But his .221 batting average overall and his .160/.213/.333 slash line in the second half have placed him firmly on the bench.
Prior to tonight, Thames only has four starts since August 17th, and he played the whole game only once during that time. He’s mostly being used as a pinch hitter now, and he isn’t even getting that opportunity very often. Due to the expanded rosters in September, and especially the addition of Curtis Granderson, Thames isn’t a go-to option for manager Craig Counsell anymore.
He gets the occasional start when Jesus Aguilar needs a day off, but that doesn’t happen very often, and it likely won’t happen in the playoffs.
Getting Down To The Playoff Roster
The Milwaukee Brewers currently have 36 players active and with the team right now. That’s the beauty of September baseball, but they can’t keep that many during the playoffs. They need to get back down to a 25 man roster.
One of the reasons the Brewers wanted to acquire Curtis Granderson was because Thames struggled so much during the second half. Granderson is a much more productive bench bat, who provides better defense than Thames in the outfield and is a respected veteran presence that brings a lot of postseason experience.
The Brewers currently have nine players on their bench, but will have to get down to four or five bench players during the playoffs. Provided they’re all healthy, Erik Kratz, Hernan Perez, Orlando Arcia, and Curtis Granderson are basically locks to make the playoff roster. That leaves potentially one spot between Thames, Keon Broxton, Domingo Santana, Tyler Saladino, and Jacob Nottingham.
Of that group, Broxton and Santana probably have a better chance of making the cut than Thames. Should anything happen to Aguilar during a playoff game, Ryan Braun and Travis Shaw can fill in at first base. If Aguilar gets hurt and is out for the rest of the series, Thames can be brought on to the roster then. But that’s the only reason to have him on the playoff roster.
Thames’ main tool is his power. He doesn’t hit for a high average. He’s not fast, he doesn’t have a great throwing arm, and isn’t a great defender. While he hit over 30 homers last year, Thames only has 16 this year, and his batting average dropped over 20 points from last year.
He’s just not the same player he was last year, and with how little he’s played, he’s not likely to stay on the postseason roster.
The Milwaukee Brewers have Thames under contract for next year, but he could be playing somewhere else to start 2019.