With a shit-tonne of shit now shit-streaming in from Dunedin, it only seems prudent (read: easiest), instead of creating a massive commentary-laden Afternoon Snack, to pile all of the day’s links into one dump, then following that up with some expanded commentary where necessary. So that’s what we’re going to do each day. Unless we don’t. It’s your Further Comment…
This is further to yesterday’s Afternoon Snack, but so what? I wanted to say a couple words about Shi Davidi’s piece at Sportsnet on Eric Thames, and Thames in general.
You see, I’m not totally self-unaware. I understand that my constant backing of Travis Snider as the Jays’ Alex Gordon– the guy who takes a long time to figure it out, but at the minimum needs the opportunity to do it– kinda relies on diminishing the potential of Eric Thames.
Not only is that too-often a bit unfair, but it really tends to take away my enjoyment of Thames– who maybe isn’t the non-prospect I’ve often tried to convince myself he probably is. The Jays obviously think highly of him– or at least believe in the optics of thinking highly of him– grouping him with Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista for batting practice and what Davidi calls “various group work,” where Snider has been working with Rajai Davis and other less integral players.
“One of the holes other pitchers exploited last year came on fastballs high and away, in part because his upper body was too built to handle them. During swings his right elbow would pop up and force a longer bat path, something that’s been addressed with the increased flexibility he has through his back and chest,” Davidi writes, referring to Thames’ off-season yoga-and-weightlifting regimen that avoided building up his back and chest, specifically so he could make adjustments to his swing.
He’s come to camp with what Davidi calls “a shorter, more compact swing and a dramatically improved throwing arm.”
“I’m a perfectionist, I needed to find a way to get shorter because I don’t want to hit .260 in the big-leagues, I want to hit .300, I want to hit better than that, with more pop, so I had to be short to the ball, get more backspin,” Thames says. “I trained an hour and a half, two hours each day for about three months with my hitting guy to get that muscle memory, and in my last week there he gave me a hug and said, ‘A lot of the teams are going to come at you with the same book as they did last year, but they’re going to have to throw all that away because your swing is different now. The holes you had last year are gone.’ Now I’ve got to keep with it.”
It’s almost enough to kinda-sorta make you start forgetting about the tantalizing potential yet to be unleashed in his left field counterpart. Shit, throw in a few more walks and we’ll seriously be talking.