Legends On Deck

Is Brewers Eric Thames The Real Deal?

In 2008, the Toronto Blue Jays drafted Eric Thames in the 7th round of the 2008 MLB draft out of Pepperdine University in Malibu, California.

On May 18, 2011, Thames made his major league debut against the Tampa Bay Rays and finished 1 for 3, with an RBI.

The Santa Clara, California native finished the season batting .262, with 58 runs, 24 doubles, five triples, 12 home runs and 37 RBIs in 95 games.

In 2012, he started the season with the Blue Jays batting .243, with seven doubles, a triple, three home runs and 11 RBIs before being traded to the Seattle Mariners at the trading deadline for Steve Delabar. Thames finished out the season batting .220, with five doubles, two triples, six home runs and 14 RBIs in 40 games.

In 2013, he played in 13 spring training games with the Mariners but was sent down to their Triple-A affiliate before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles on June 30th, for Ty Kelly. He then was released by the Orioles on September 1, and the Houston Astros claimed Thames off waivers on September 6th and then released him that winter.

Thames then decided to take his game to the Korean Baseball League and that is when his professional career took a turn for the better.

In 2014 he played for the NC Dinos of Changwon, South Gyeongsang and in 125 games, he batted .343, with 95 runs, 152 hits, 30 doubles, six triples, 37 home runs and 121 RBIs. The following season with the Dinos he batted .381, with 130 runs, 180 hits, 42 doubles, five triples, 47 home runs, and 140 RBIs. Those are numbers that most only put up in video games.

In 2016, he played 19 fewer games and still batted .321, with 30 doubles, 40 home runs and 121 RBIs. Not a bad career overseas, after being traded and released twice in the states.

After his tremendous success in the Korean League, the Milwaukee Brewers decided that they would take on chance on Thames and give him a second chance in the Major Leagues. He has not disappointed.

From April 13 – April 17, Thames recorded a home run in five straight games, two on April 15th, giving him seven on the season at the time. Then on April 20th, he hit his eighth, ninth and tenth on April 24th, and on Tuesday he set the club record with his 11th home run in the month of April. He is now batting .371, with 24 runs, 12 doubles, 11 home runs, 19 RBIs, in just 19 games.

He still has five says in the month and only three dingers away from tying Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols for the most home runs in the month of April.  Both sluggers are tied with 14. Can Thames rewrite history?, well we are soon to find out.

The power surge has been impressive and will be even more interesting to see how long he can keep it up and if he is the real deal. So far he is proving that he may just be that.

He also has his club in the thick of things as the Brewers are 11-11, but only two games out of the lead in the NL Central Division behind the first place Chicago Cubs (12-8).

The 2017 season has become Thames’ welcome back and coming out party all rolled into one. It is plainly evident that the time he played away from the states, has done something tremendous to his career.  Some have argued that he may be juicing and that is the reason for his sudden power surge, but until he is proven to be a cheater, he is just a player who has found the right ingredients and has put it all together.

David Conde
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