I have nothing bad to say about Eric Thames as a person. In interviews and public appearances, he seems to be genuine, intelligent and humourous. He has style, grace and a whole bunch of other descriptives found in the lyrics to Vogue. Perhaps most importantly, he has what the French call “the elan,” and what Blue Jays fans call “the swagger,” that the people of Toronto seem to love.

He has all this, but I have my doubts that he has the ability to be much more than a fourth outfielder.

Last night in Baltimore, as the Blue Jays inexplicably lost to Tommy Hunter and the Baltimore Orioles, we saw the best and worst of what Thames has to offer.

First, the best:

Thames became only the 58th player in the 20-year history of Camden Yards to hit a home run out onto Eutaw Street. It was a massive home run.

But then, Thames displayed his worst:

For once, he didn’t actually have a bad route to the ball. However, the tentativeness with which he took that route cost him dearly as he sped up at the end of his run, unsure of his surroundings, and had to jump toward the potential catch rather than be there waiting for it.

The ball ultimately ricocheted off his glove and into the stands at Camden Yards.

This one play isn’t enough to suggest that Thames is nothing more than a fourth outfielder. It is, however, indicative of his defensive shortcomings. That, combined with his horrible walk rate at the Major League level and the unsurprising disappearance of his power stroke so far this year do all the suggesting necessary.

Meanwhile, Travis Snider rakes in Las Vegas. Yes, we’ll note the location’s supposed rakeability here, but then we’ll go on to suggest that Snider is a better option than Thames, both in the future, as well as right now because he can play better defense, he can take a walk (yes, even at the Major League level despite what last season might have suggested), and most importantly, he can offer everything that Thames can, and even go the opposite way with it.

General Manager Alex Anthopoulos has spoken about the mistakes of the past in not allowing Snider to complete a single season all at one level. That one level should be the Major Leagues, not Triple A. I don’t understand what Eric Thames has done to deserve that honour ahead Snider.

Comments (128)

  1. Karl says:
    04.24.12 @ 8:11 PM EDT
    Reply Thames giveth, Thames taketh away

    He gets a cut of the ad revenue, right?

  2. One of the big problems with the whole situation: if they send Thames down now, and then Snider comes up and similarly struggles for three weeks… I wouldn’t want them to send Snider down. But, in the interest of “fairness”, they might feel inclined to do so, which would be stupid and awful.

    If that means we need to see a couple more weeks of Thames’ defensive butchery for the Jays to make the Snider call-up permanent, then so be it. But when he does come up here, I really hope it’s with the understanding that the job is his to keep for the rest of the year – no looking over his shoulder, no platooning, just a once-and-for-all look at Snider in LF for 400+ AB’s.

    One thing I’ve noticed about Thames this year is that he really seems to be having a tough time dealing with pressure and expectations for the first time in his career. He’s never had that before, and he seems to be (understandably) unable to handle it (case in point: reportedly sulking alone at his locker for half an hour after everybody else left last night). It’s hard not to feel bad for the guy, but it’s also hard not to see that he belongs in Vegas right now.

    • That seems like exactly the response I would want from thames after last night. I think Thames will have a few solid 3-4 WAR years in the next 5, but if Snider is ready – for real this time – Thames shouldn’t stand in his way.

      I think Thames is being undervalued as an asset by most folks. He’s one of the only positional prospects we have that fits the “major league ready” tag that shifty GMs seem to covet. No point in thinking of specific targets right now, but I say the ideal scenario is he puts together a good couple of months and can be a part (not the only part, or the best part) of a tradeafter the break that helps our rotation and clears the way for Snider.

      • I meant shitty GMs, not shifty.

      • There is no way Eric Thames will ever put up a SINGLE 4 WAR season, much less multiple ones.

      • if Thames isn’t trade bait, then my 14 and 3/8ths year old girlfriend isn’t jailbait

      • What in the world do you see that makes you think he’ll ever have a 3-4 WAR season, let alone a “few”? Yes, he’s a nice guy. We all agree. We want him to do well. But so far, we’ve seen nothing to indicate that kind of improvement.

        • I overreached with the “few years”. I think though, that coming into this season that a 2 WAR would not have been an outlandish prediction, and that’s a reasonable, if optimistic view of his true talent.

          He’s also not a finished product. He’s 25, yes, but has only played 3 years of pro ball and is clearly dedicated to developing his talent. I think if he’s starting, it’s likely that sometime in the next 5 years he’ll improve enough and enough will go his way to have a season in the 3-4 WAR range.

          I mean, Rajai Davis put up 3.8 fWAR in 2009, that’s a good season, but it’s not as if I’m saying Thames will be an all star.

    • Screw fairness, this is the MLB

  3. I pretty much agree with everything Dustin has written here. Time to call up Snider.

  4. Even earlier in the game. Ball was hit to the wall and he misplayed the bounce. He’s one of the worst defensive outfielders that I’ve seen and his upside with the bat is league average.

    That being said, Snider was sent down last year to work on his swing. They made changes, he came up and within two weeks he had reverted back to the old long swing. Maybe the off season, spring training and a few months at Vegas will help ensure that the swing becomes permanent and that he doesn’t come up and panic like last time.

    What I’m trying to say is that I think Thames in left is less about him being a good player and more about making sure a potential elite outfield comes up ready to perform consistently. Think Nix at three until Lawrie was ready last year.

    • Good points. I hope you’re right and that is the Jays’ plan for Snider.

      Ya know, assuming they actually have a plan for him this time as opposed to what they’ve done to him in the past.

    • Further to this, I think they prefer having a Thames/Davis platoon in LF with Snider getting full time reps in AAA, rather than a Davis/Snider platoon in LF with Thames getting full time reps. Snider has similar splits to Lind in his career, so they probably don’t want him up here trying to implement the changes in his swing while flailing away against ML left handed pitchers, or worse yet platooned and not getting full-time reps. I imagine in a month or two we will see Thames and Snider swapped, with Snider getting mostly full-time reps in LF.

  5. I was instantly furious with Thames after that play, but now I feel bad for him. The poor guy is setup to fail. From all accounts he is one hell of a nice guy, and it really isn’t fair that an entire fan base is calling for his head just because he’s blocking a 1st round draft pick.

    I for one will now cheer for Thames. Who doesn’t like the underdog??

    • Same here, I like Thames.

      Trade Snider and let him be someone else’s project. The future anyway in our outfield lies elsewhere in our minor league system. Snider may be young, but he’s missed the boat with us. He needs the proverbial change of scenery.

      • not that i whole heartily disagree with you, but be wary counting on high A-ball

      • You say our future lies elsewhere but how do we know they will succeed? Snider was once in their shoes and expected to be the future face of the franchise. I’d keep him, continue to work with him and see if you can find the guy we all know is in there.

        Losing him at his lowest value point isn’t intelligent management and is the exact opposite of what AA does. (See Rasmus, Morrow, hell even Lawrie). Plus he’s getting the change of scenery in Vegas and it seems to be working out well. Patience is the key right now.

      • Snider’s missed the boat?? or maybe our front office fucked up ROYALLY by not allowing him a full year of at bats dating back to 2008?! Snider has one thing preventing him from being an elite talent at the MLB level – the curveball. he cant hit them. every other team in the league knows he cant hit them, and if he had a played a full season in AA or AAA or MLB in the last 4 years, maybe he would have figured it out sooner. he certainly wouldnt be the first.

    • How on earth is Snider not the underdog at this point?

      • Well, if we are looking at the amount of Jay’s fans that want Thames to succeed more than Snides, definately an underdog. Probably the wrong choice or words, “but I ain’t no wordsmith” as Colby would put it.

  6. I agree Dustin that Thames has not performed amazing thus far this season. But he’s still batting over .250 while others on the team are also slow to get out of the gate on offense. So it’s not like he’s alone here…or even batting as bad as Snider did last year. Even Buck last night made a comment that Thames has been keeping afloat even if his power numbers aren’t there yet. I can’t disagree with Buck’s statement…

    I have to say though…I do have to disagree with your comment about how Snider can take a walk at the major league level. Because I don’t see the magic stats that you’re looking at. Snider has never drawn more than 29 walks in a season…granted that was in only 77 games in 2009. In 2010…he only drew 21 walks in 82 games. I personally do not see Snider…based on those numbers….as someone who is patient and can draw walks. Even in the minors….Snider only drew 60 walks in 133 games. Not terrible…but it’s also the minors. Meanwhile…not only has Snider not been able to draw lots of walks at the major league level….he also struck out 78 and 79 times in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Approximately 1 SO per game!! Not good…and certainly not the savior of this team in LF.

    Now granted…I do agree with you and Stoeten that Snider has the higher upside overall…or at least should….but so far in his major league career…he has not put up any better numbers than Thames at the major league level….in fact…I’d say it’s safe to say…that other than defense…Thames has looked like the player with greater upside. That said…I do hope Snider turns out to be the player we all hope. But I also think you’re being overly hard on Thames. Especially for the play last night which was slicing away from him off the bat of Wieters who was hitting left-handed. Not an easy play for any left fielder.

    • “Thames has looked like the player with greater upside” – you’re either not being honest with yourself or you don’t understand the term “higher upside”. Snider’s upside is much, much higher than Thames.

      • Higher upside since he’s been in the Majors. I didn’t say higher upside overall. And I also said aside from a defensive standpoint which Snider is clearly better. But…Thames still projects to be a 20-25 hr guy and bat probably around 270-280. That’s really not that different from what some projected Snider to be.

    • You should use more ellipses in your comment. It’s still slightly readable.

  7. Here’s the reality of the situation.. Thames is what he is, and thats a 4th outfielder, he’s not an everyday player. LF is the 3rd least demanding defensive position (1B/DH, 1/2) and should in theory be one of your best bats.

    Thames is not going to be a middle of the order bat, he doesn’t have the plate discipline, he doesn’t have the pitch recognition, and can pretty much only hit fastballs.

    Is Snider more than that? The Jury is out, but the potential for Snider to be a 4/5/6 hitter is atleast there and should be explored. Thames isn’t bad, I like the guy, but the reality is his bat just isnt that good, namely his slugging, to justify having him out there in LF making a mockery on fly balls.


    • small pet peeve… but thames is NOT a 4th OFer… your 4th OF needs to be able to play CF in a pinch. thames can’t play LF for crissakes.

      thames is either a DH or a guy who rakes enough that you are willing to live will the terrible defense in LF… personally i don’t think he hits enough to be either… so he is a pretty fringy big leaguer for me.

      i found it kind of interesting how a couple inning span perfectly represented what thames is as a ball player right now… he hits his first HR and almost immediately gives it right back with the leather.

      • + 10

      • Quibble with that, the 4th OF doesn’t HAVE to be able to play CF, depending on who your starting outfielders are. If next year’s starting OF was Rasmus, Gose (doubtful) and Bautista, or Rasmus, Snider and Bautista, I still think there would be room for Thames as the 4th OF. Rasmus plays CF right now, and Snider is competent enough defensively to play CF.

        Basically, you just need 2 of 4 OF to be able to play CF decently or better. Doesn’t matter which 2 of 4 that is, especially if the 4th OF has an above-average bench bat, which I believe Thames would.

      • 100% agree. Infact, I was so stunned by his Jose-Canseco-Style blunder by propelling that home run over the fence that I couldnt even get mad, I almost laughed, and between that play and misplaying that double off the wall which would have led to ANOTHER run had Colby Rasmus not sprinted over to LF when he saw the ball headed for the wall because unlike Thames, Rasmus is a good enough defender that he knew the ball was going to bounce right past Thames based on how he was playing it.

        • Or Rasmus was simply doing his job by backing up the corner outfielder…which all outfielders are taught to do…the misplay off of the wall wasn’t the worst play I’ve ever seen. Also the Canseco homerun blunder was way worse as he was standing 2 feet in front of the wall and the ball missed his glove completely and bounced off of his head. I think Thames should be given a little slack considering the ball was slicing away from him and was going to hit at least the top of the wall either way.

      • Thames hit a slider for a home run last night. Just saying.

  8. Personally The way I see it, Snider has really boosted his trade value with his performance this season. AA should flip him for a stud starting pitcher and let the Thames/Davis platoon hold down the fort till Gose is ready for the majors.

    • AA would not be able to flip Snider alone for a stud starting pitcher that is anywhere near the major league level.

      1) No matter how good of a AAA performance he puts on, it doesn’t matter. It’s AAA and the PCL. If Snider performed at the major league level, then maybe yes, but if that’s the case, we should be keeping him
      2) I really don’t think we should be banking on Gose, his celing remains high, but his floor is Rajai Davis with better defense.
      3) Have you seen the going rate for “stud” starting pitchers!?!?

      • You lost me at 2) “…but his floor is Rajai Davis with better defense.” For a floor, that’s pretty intriguing. And most seem to feel that would be much better defense.

    • You wont get a stud starter for Snider until Snider rakes at the big league level.

  9. I think that was a pretty tough ball to catch for any LF, including Snider.

    • I disagree. It was an above average play. Unlike Rasmus, who would have floated over and made the play look easy, Thames has a way of making every play look difficult. It would have been a nice catch, but he’s not showing up on the highlight of the night if he comes up with it.

  10. man, I couldn’t agree more. let’s cut BenFran, and simply rest one of Rasmus, Thames, EE, Lind and Snider per game, and fit him in there 4 games out of 5. None of these guys is Prince Fielder, FFS, let’s bring him up, get him 450 AB and see what he’s got. I don’t frickin’ get any other strategy with him. AAA is useless. AA is stubborn.

  11. I figure the jays go at least another 4-6 weeks before making any changes (maybe platoon Davis/Thames in the meantime).

    They don’t want either of these guys going up and down between AAA and majors, so they will want to be sure of any changes, and make it permanent for the rest of the year.

    However, I think if they do bring up Snider that Francisco is the odd man out in that scenario, not Thames. Thames is a better bat off the bench.

    • that scenario _will_not_happen_. Snider needs 550+ at bats. it is critical to his developement timetable without options next year.

    • I didn’t understand why they signed Francisco when they did and it still doesn’t make sense to me. I agree, take your loses on Francisco, bring up Snider and let Thames ride the bench. I think Snider could bring some spark this this line-up solidify the LF position.

      • Let Thames ride the bench? Never gonna happen because it is a terrible idea and just bad asset management. When you call up Snider, send Thames down so he can get every day playing time to continue work developing. He has only played 3 seasons of pro-ball, so it’s a bit early to completely give up on him.

        For now, continue platooning Thames with Davis, and using Davis as a late game defensive replacement to soften the blow of Thames’ underwhelming performance to date, and let Snider continue to gain consistency in his new approach at the plate playing everyday. Hopefully, this is what is happening.

  12. I simply dont get the Thames hatred!!?? Have a little faith in the River, it’s been 15 games and he’s one of the more reliable batters. Last night was a rediculously tough play to make- it’s a non factor. The home run was awesome.

    Snider rakes in Vegas and then he’ll come up here and bat 200- like the time before and the time before that. The River should have another month before we even consider a Snider promotion which as far as Im concerned should be on an injury basis only.

    Christ you people are fickle.

    • “Have a little faith in the River, it’s been 15 games and he’s one of the more reliable batters”

      Really? Over his last 200 or so ABs last year (or 2/3 of his season), Thames’ OPS was below .700. This year, including last night it’s .713. In order for his glove to play in LF he HAS to be a well above average bat. He’s no where close to that.

    • it was a tough play, but not ridiculously so. he made it harder by taking a bad route & misjudging the wind/carry of the ball. you’ll notice that at the tail end of his chase, he’s running almost parallel to the wall, meaning he raced back to where he thought it would end up (not factoring in the wind & natural slice a LH would put on that type of ball), then scrambled to recover. the catch itself was difficult, but mainly because he got a bad read & took a bad route to it.

      oh, and any ball that you can get a glove on, should be caught. this is the major fucking leagues.

      that play was interesting…if he does the same thing on a ball that doesn’t leave the yard, it’s probably a 50/50 call (by the scorer) as to whether it’s a hit or an error.

      the first fucked-up play he had, IMO, was just as telling, if not more so. seemed to misjudge it as well, took a bad route, and misjudged the carom. if rasmus – who must realize better than anyone thames’ limitations – hadn’t covered for him, that’s a run & a triple/inside-the-park job.

    • +1

  13. When Lind sucks again, why not first base?

    • If Lind gets dropped and they want to keep Thames/bring Snider up, then the ideal defensive arrangement would be Snider in LF, EE at 1B, and Thames (or anybody else) at DH.

      I keep seeing people asking about Snider at 1B, but that doesn’t make any sense. If Snider’s here, he should be in the outfield because he’s easily the best non-Rasmus outfielder on the team. Like, by far.

      • totally agree. Snider’s defensive ability is instantly #2 in the outfield when he’s brought up. Let the guys who can’t play their position try to move.

        Having Snider in LF means Rasmus could cheat a little towards RF to make up for Bautista’s comparatively limited range. All three have strong throwing arms.

        That outfield would be pretty fantastic. It all comes down to whether or not Snider can remember how to hit and take the odd walk. Plus in giving Snider a legit shot you know by next year (when we’re more likely to contend) what positions on the diamond need attention. Lets not have another year where we have to talk about whether or not more MLB plate appearances are needed to know what we have with Snider!

    • Why does everyone keep suggesting moving a sub par piece in place of a sub par piece. Thames’ bat, like JPA’s bat, does not play at first, DH or LF, so why would we do that when at the very least, Lind is looking good defensively and is just as shitty as the others at the plate.

      • I agree. Why convert someone else to 1B when we just did that. Lind has looke marvelous at 1B this season by the way….only way we replace Lind is via trade or Free Agency, we have no one pushing at the minor league level.

        • Fangraphs doesn’t agree with your assessment of Lind’s defence. He’s a bit below average at 1B. EE might actually be the better fielder at 1B.

          • Lind has played pretty well at first so far this season, making some good scoops and diving catches. He’s getting the hang of it (again, as he did used to play there). Why force Thames to learn the position if the bat is no better?

          • Baseball Prospectus has Lind slightly above average, and EE slightly below for 2012. But – SSS!!

  14. It was a very tough play yesterday. But, let’s not put the loss on him. How about the fact the Jays didn’t hit at all yesterday? That has more to do with the loss IMO.

    Yes, Snider was once a great prospect. Yes, Thames was not (because he got injured in his draft year, otherwise he would have gone MUCH higher than he did). But, until the prospect produces maybe we shouldn’t crown him king yet? Thames hasn’t looked terrible at the plate like some Jays have. And Snider is playing against AAA pitching. That’s basically extended spring training.

    • I agree with you completely. It was a one run game and we should have had more bats going. But still, not the point of the article, is it.

    • Sorry, Snider WAS a great prospect? He still is only 24….take a look at what Alex Gordon did last year…

      And did you actually say Thames has not looked that bad at the plate? wow, yeah his average isnt bad but thats because he has fewer at bats than any other starter and comming into last night he had 7 hits, all 7 were pulled singles!!!! he has shown NO power besides that pitch he got a hold of last night….

      If Snider had this kind of start to April (and he did last year) the Jays would cut him so fast so why does Thames get all the rope?

      • Gordon is the exception, not the norm. He’s also had a much worse start to the season offensively than Thames, so maybe the Royals should consider sending him down to AAA too right?


    • AGREED. Thames was also responsible for the only Blue Jays run of the entire game. If he had made this catch, it would’ve probably ended up with us giving up some dumb RBI single in extras the way we were playing. The offense was not productive.

  15. Fuck off, Parkes!

  16. I would like Snider up also. I would really like to increase strike outs and double plays in the Blue Jays line up. Thames just has to put it past him and it is a long season.

  17. one of the best worded articles in a while. This guy is a major hole in our line-up and Snider should be the guy, at least until Marisnick is ready to be the guy…or Gose…both players may make the whole Thames vs. Snider thing a moot point come 2013.

    • Unless Snider lives up to his potential. If Snider is hitting better than Lind (which is not an unreasonable possibility), then a future lineup might include Jose at 1B and an outfield of Snider/Gose/Rasmus, or something.

  18. Shit happens. This would be a non-story had any of the hitters besides Thames and Johnson reported for duty. Thames and Johnson 4/7, rest of team 1/24. Ridiculous, Cy fucking Young wasn’t out there.

  19. A few people above are pointing out that it was tough play for any left fielder. The problem is not that he didn’t catch the ball. The problem, as I see it, is that his timing sucked and because of that, the ball went off his glove into the seats. At the very least, knock it back into play!

  20. Defense matters.

  21. If his bat compensated for his defense, it wouldn’t matter. And his home run pretty well compensated for the previous misplay off of the wall. That’s what it comes down to. And even when he’s at his best (that we’ve seen so far), he just barely compensates for his fielding.

  22. The bobble by Thames is no where near as bad as the bobble Alex Rios had in Boston a few years back.

    It pissed me off that Thames turned a double into a homer, but it pissed me off more that the Jays had 60 meat pitches last night and missed 58 of them.

    • yep there is no point in getting pissed off at Thames for that one play…but if it happens like 5 nights in a row… then im going to worry.

  23. Holy Fanboy Parkes. Why don’t you rename the blog Drunk Snider Fan? Once again, this is totally fucking amateur. Especially with the continued hatred of ‘maple dicks’ and the Canadian angle while Snider works like Viagra.

    First let’s deal with Snider. Throughout his minor league career he’s ‘had success everywhere’ and been subject to many aggressive promotions based on hot streaks to start at the level. However, he hasn’t shown an ability to adapt to pitching whatsoever when he stays at a level. Thus, his development is stunted to a productive week here versus a week of 15 K’s there. It appears as though he crushed fastballs until the level realized they shouldn’t be throwing them. By the time off-speed junk was on the way, JPR had Travis on a bus to the next level. It’s pretty obvious he needs some continuity to have pitchers adjust to him, so that he can adjust right back.

    And yet, here we are, 10% into the season and “What have you done for me lately?” is the best the 9-5 bloggers can come up with. Already prepared to play yo-yo with Snider and Thames based on some fiction that Snider ‘walks at the big league level’ and Thames has some mystical ‘ceiling’ that will prevent him from developing at all past what he is. I mean, due to injury there relative age is lower than 23/24 and they both might have a lot of room for development past some on-paper assessment that he’s a 4th outfielder.

    In my opinion, they are playing safe with Snider, letting him finally get some consistency at a level so he can learn how to make adjustments. For goodness sakes, IT’S WORKING! He’s walking a lot, hitting for contact (K-ing less is the most important thing). Let him continue. If he’s kept up his development and it’s June, an opportunity will present itself.

    Thames hasn’t been very good to start the season. But subjectively he seems to be picking better pitches to swing at and finally looks to be coming around with his moonshot last night. In the outfield it’s been a nightmare so far. Don’t get me wrong, if he maintains this pace, Snider will pass him. But last season Snider had 200 PAs before being sent down. You can expect the same from Thames.

    • This is a much better assessment of the situation as a whole. Well done, Ace.

      • ok, please explain how Thames is having a “VERY” good start to the season?

        Defensively he takes bad routes to the ball, has not thrown well in the OF, his bat has had absolutely no pop and he only hits singles…plus he’s been sat in favor of Rajai Davis 3 times….how does that translate into a “Very” good season so far??????!!!!!

        The other day there was an article on this site suggesting that Brett Lawrie had been “Awful” to start the season…if Lawrie has been awful with a team lead in RBI’s and an .avg hovering around .280 plus his outstanding defence…what the hell does that make Thames?

        • edit: I mi-read your post and thought you sayd he was having a very good start, just noticed you said “hasn’t”. Please excuse my comment, I am an ass….

    • Where’s the like button? I need to click it 100 times

    • i think i agree with you for the most part. snider is raking in vegas, but really we’d be completely shocked if he wasnt – its like his 3rd go at that level! whatever improvements we’re looking for from snider are probably not going to be seen in the box scores, so really none of us are qualified to decide when he might come up. the “snider’s raking in vegas so call him up” theory needs to be put to rest.

      as for thames, i haven’t seen the defensive improvements we were promised – except we haven’t seen very much of the arm to draw conclusions yet – but i think that was mainly just spring training cool-aid anyways. physically, he could probably be at least an average fielder, and really the rest is just reps and experience for running routes, judging flyballs, etc. those are really his areas of concern as a defender, and i’m not sure how we could realistically expect him to improve in those categories during the offseason. some guys never figure out the defensive part of the game, but i think with thames’ work ethic (or at least the work ethic we’re lead to believe he has) he has a better chance than most. snider himself was similarly a bad defender when he first came up (yes i realize he was younger).

      as for the stick, thames has not looked good so far, but we’re not even close to being able to draw conclusions about it. christ, he hit a HR last night and his SLG went up by like 80 points. look at his numbers next week and they could be completely different. i think that dictates that we need more data, no?

      • You’re right that we can’t take a lot out of the box scores. Vegas is actually going to decrease the amount of HRs (especially LH hitters), increase the amount of doubles, and greatly increase the amount of singles hit. Therefore, slash lines don’t do a lot for us. (Although, of course, positive results ARE good.. everybody cannot hit in Vegas as d’Arnaud and Gose are learning early).

        However, his K and BB rates are going to be telling. So far, Snider has improved both figures in the early going of the season.

        Want to get a finger on the pulse of the minor leagues? battersbox.ca is by FAR the best resource. Trumps content by Law, Baseball America, or any other prospect blog. Generally have a few eye-witnesses that can point out a few things (the other day Snider hit a ‘double’ that was actually a dropped ball by the outfielder.. the bauxites were all over it).

        As for Thames’ defense, well, it has been ugly. Puss arm, bad reads, and basic fielding skills are not a good recipe. Right now he needs to improve in all areas.

    • Comment of the month.

      You sir just won the internet.

  24. Is there really much of a difference between Eric Thames and Ben Francisco? Both 4th outfielders ideally. I like Thames a lot, but if he can’t play defense or hit .300+ then there isnt really much upside here

  25. i hate losing to the orioles. 3 times.

  26. I don’t think either Snider or Thames is the answer in left field. Neither of them are good defensively and neither of them are good enough at the plate. We need a decent-hitting, good defensive left-fielder and I suspect he’ll come from some other organization. Or I hope he’ll come. I’m leery of the farm for this position. As well, I don’t know how many times we all have to say it, Lind is a handicap at 1st and must be replaced sooner rather than later. I don’t care how many home runs he hit in 2009 or whenever, he’s not hitting now and hasn’t for a couple of seasons. If this season is about fine-tuning the line-up and finding out where to spend Rogers $$$$$$$ in the off-season, then here’s where they need to start.

    • snider’s at worst, an average defender, and at best, pretty damn good (to the degree that he can – if needed – slide over to CF).

      i’m surprised that you don’t think there’s much on the farm for ‘this position’?? IMO, the farm seems loaded with pitchers & outfielders. it’s not for nothing that there’s talk of moving bautista to first (eventually) to make room for guys like gose & marisnick, let alone snider.

    • Who are we replacing Lind with if we dump him? There’s nobody in the minors or on the bench that reasonably looks like an adequate replacement at 1B or DH (if EE moves to 1B). I’d rather have Lind at 1B than Francisco at DH.

      Barring a GM having a monumental lapse in judgment, Lind is here until AA can find a team for him to be the Mark Teahan-like albatross to package with one of our prospects for an asset (ideally a 1B/DH type).

  27. The baseball hipsters in this town love Snider so much that anything positive he does will immediately be pointed to as the reason he should be promoted as soon as possible. At the Triple A level, he draws some walks with some regularity for the first time in ages, and suddenly he’s got proven major league-level patience at the plate. Sorry, but that’s nothing more than wishful thinking.

    Accordingly, these same people magnify Thames’ mistakes. If Thames had caught that ball it would have been a great play, but somehow I don’t think the hipsters would have acknowledged that.

    I completely agree that Snider’s upside is much higher, and I’d love to see him succeed and become an all-star major leaguer. But promoting him now is premature, and that mistake has been made already. If he’s genuine, he’ll prove it over a longer stretch of time, not just three or four weeks. If he can keep it going awhile longer, like through May, then sure, bring him up.

    But for now, you vultures should really stop circling over Thames’ head.

    • Friend of mine saw Snider play in Vegas last weekend. He said that Snider had a misplayed pop fly that was ruled a double. Then Snider was swinging at some questionable pitches. His bat still needs work.

      No question that Snider is an upgrade defensively in LF over Thames but its way too early to call up Lunchbox. I would rather see Thames establish some kind of value that could be peddled by AA before we see Snider. Besides, with the number of buffets in Vegas, there is no way that Snider has crushed all of them yet.

      BTW, before Thames’ blast, the last Blue Jay to hit a HR out of Camden Yard was Eric Hinske. If you believe in the great almighty Baseball Gods, something is going to give right?

      • Ballsdeep, really, Hinske was the last??

        • I seem to remember Brett Lattimer jacking one in Camden last year. Maybe I missed an inside joke…

    • oh so now it’s a hipster thing? fuck you it’s a personal preference thing. what, do you think all of us Snider fans are hanging out outside the dome kicking a haki-sack and blazin a fatty while the rest of you Thames fans are inside in your suits? give me a break pal

      Talent is what is important and Snider is clearly more talented than Thames. It’s just a matter of time my friend before we never hear of Eric Thames again. people were so high on this guy last year because he smacked fastballs for doubles hitting in front of the best player in baseball, fuck, If I got to hit in front of the best player in the world I’m sure I’d be able to turn around a few fast balls too. Now he’s batting in the 8 hole and no one has to give him anything to hit and it shows. He chases pitches out of the zone, doesnt walk much at all, only has 1 extra basehit…..the guy can’t even muster a sac-fly every now and then….2rbi’s? give me a break

      • hipster mad?

        • yeah I’m having a real bad day. First i got my black thick rimmed glasses smashed, then my wallet chain broke, then I tore another hole in my skinny jeans and on top of all that i fell into a puddle today so that ruins my streak of 5 weeks without a bath….

    • and as for us “Vultures”. thats exactly what we should be doing. In New York, or Philly, or Boston or St Louis where, you know, winning is expected….when a player performs poorly the fans let them hear it repeatedly….thats the problem with Toronto Sports fans is we’re all so fucking eager to accept losing…it’s the big leagues and theyre getting paid millions of dollars to win and the fans should expect that and should rag on them when they play poorly.

      Jose Bautista will come around but right now he’s playing like a bag of smashed assholes and I have no problem with people getting on his case a little. If it was up to you wed probably still have a roster full of Russ Adams’s, Lyle Overbay’s, and Mike McCoy’s because they were “nice guys” and “worked hard”

      • Thing is I kind of agree with you. TO baseball fans are way too laid back for my liking. This team may have played above .500 ball more often than not, and that’s nice. But we haven’t seen meaningful games played even in September for a generation. Jose will come around I hope. I’m not gonna dog him even if he doesn’t because he was basically our only excellent player last year and the year before. I’ll cut him some slack because he’s earned it. Lind hasn’t, Thames hasn’t. I’m leery of the farm because I’ve seen a lot of highly-touted projects come out of there and then stink up the field. If we can get someone from AA or AAA that works out I’ll be happy. But now that we seem set at CF, RF, and throughout the infield, we **really** need to upgrade at LF and 1st.

        • yeah LF needs an upgrade and I think one of our young guys should pan out at some point, even if we move one of them to CF and then Rasmus plays LF. Lind needs to work on some consistency but in the AL east, if you want to compete you pretty much need to have a premiere 1st basemen and we don’t have any in our system so I don’t really know what the plan is there…

          But yeah, its time to stop being so soft on the guys that play poorly. The organization is trying to create a winning atmosphere and it’s up to us fans to demand one no matter how fickle and senseless we all may seem.

  28. If Thames is going to be a 4th outfielder in the majors, it won’t be in Toronto. That would just be remarkably poor asset management. Thames gets hated on around here because there appears to be a reasonable alternative in Snider waiting in the wings. There’s plenty of teams where there is no reasonable alternative in LF, and would presumably be willing to cough up an asset that has more value to the Jays than a 4th outfielder for Thames’ services (see: Cleveland, Seattle, Philly, Atlanta, the Dodgers off the top of my head). 4th outfielders unless they’re fungible bodies of the Mike McCoy ilk, should be picked up off the scrap heap ala Ben Francisco, they shouldn’t be youngish internal candidates.

  29. Oh man that’s amazing….. Colby RAaaaAAAaaasMus….. Man WoooOOOooow WwwhhaaAAttt a catch wow he does it everyday

  30. As Ace mentioned the deal with Snider right now is to see how he reacts when the PCL pitchers start making adjustments. They want to see consistency and the ability to adjust from him. It’s not even May yet. Let’s see how he does down there for another month when they start trying to make him chase the junk.

    In the meantime Thames isn’t hurting us. That was a tough play that he almost caught. It was not Alex Rios flipping the ball from under fence height ten feet over the fence.

    • how is Thames not hurting us? He defence is poor, he cant hit for extra bases or with RISP. He has 2 rbi’s and a bunch of singles. Snider was sent down at the end of April alst year for poor performance, we should send Thames down soon…he clearly can’t handle the pressure.

      • Give me a break buddy. Snider had 100 plate appearances in april and may last year and he was batting under….I repeat…under .200 (.178) with 5 extra base hits.

        Thames this year has only had 50 plate appearances and he is batting .273. Plus…he hasn’t played against a few tough lefthanders so he is still getting his timing down. If his bat doesn’t pick up by mid-May…then I’m with you. But Snider…aside from a couple of decent weeks in the majors…has been nothing special!

  31. Snider’s last 200 MLB ABs were ~65 OPS+ baseball, that’s why he’s in the minors. And he certainly didn’t look like he was about to come out of it when he got sent down.

    Thames, right now, as bad as you seem to think he’s hitting, is still at ~95 OPS+. So essentially, TONS better.

    • our management of Snider is exactly the problem. It’s 200 ab’s here, 200ab’s there. We’ve mismanaged him since Cito. We always said “we see him as a middle of the order bat” but yet we’ve never once in his career batted him about 7th in the major league level. This kis has never got a real shot at it without having to look over his shoulder.

      Thames will be an afterthought soon enough.

      • In 4y he’s had 800 ABs. That’s far more of a chance than most players get.

        Not only that, but you’re basically proposing that they do to Thames exactly what they did to Snider, when he hasn’t even made a fucking horror show of his ABs the way Snider did.

        • 800 ab’s is far more than most top prospects get? are you retarded? most players get 500ab’s a season so we’ve given our highest ranked prospect since Roy Hallday 1.5 seasons of at bats and most people are ready to close the book on the kid?

          And yes Im proposing to to that to Thames, he’s a 4th outfielder as BEST and with his defence i’m not sure if he’s even that good.

          • When they hit worse than John Macdonald, yes, they get less than 800 ABs.

            Also, I never said to close the book on him, I said right now, Thames deserves the spot more. Simply because of performance.

  32. I can’t believe Parkes wrote an article about a young player without mentioning service time!

    I believe if Snider had started the year with the Jays (and spent the whole year on the ML roster), he would have been a free agent following 2015. I think he can be called up any day now and be under team control through 2016. And I suspect he will be within the next 4-6 weeks…

  33. Fuck I’m tired of this debate.

    Thames’ slash line is not bad.

    Davis is on fire and a real sparkplug.

    I can hit .300 in Las Vegas, and I’m not a professional baseball player.

    When Snider come back up and hits .210 and looks lost at the plate, what will the Snider fans say? Trade the sieve. While he is worth something.

  34. It’s funny that some people don’t even realize quite how bad he’s doing. He has hit almost exclusively against RHP – his much better split. Imagine how bad he’d be doing with a healthy dose of LHP. They are already operating with a platoon in LF (not sure if everyone acknowledges that) with Davis not only supplanting Thames when a lefty is pitching but also as a defensive replacement in crucial situations. Thames is playing like a 3A outfielder to Davis’ 3B and he’s still falling short. In fact, the whole Thames-Davis platoon is failing as Thames isn’t hitting RHP well and Davis isn’t hitting LHP well. They need someone who can play full-time LF against both righties and lefties and doesn’t need to be replaced defensively by Rajai Davis (who isn’t a particularly good defender himself, but much better than Thames). That would also enable Davis to be used more effectively in pinch-running situations as opposed to being burned as a defensive replacement.

    • thank you! finally a sensible post. I don’t know where people get off saying Thames is having a good start, hes been awful.

    • Yep. You r best point is how the team is utilizing Thames. Forget everything else, just from that you can see that the Jays don’t see him as the everyday answer in LF. But the whole Thames/Snider thing has never made any sense to me, so what do I know.

    • Let me guess…you think we should put Snider in LF on an everyday basis? Even against left handers?? Because I’m sorry to burst your bubble…Snider has struggled just as much if not more than Thames against lefties. So we’d still be in a platoon situation. And in any event…who cares if he is platooned a few games here and there? That’s why AA has 5 OF on this roster to allow Farrel to mix and match the lineup based on percentages and to plug in Rajai and Francisco against lefties. I don’t seem to see the problem. It’s been 15 games! Aside from not hitting any homers until now, Thames has stayed afloat more than other hitters in our lineup.

    • Yes! This is exactly the case. It’s ok to play LF poorly if you hit like Manny on the juice in his prime. But if you put up awful numbers like these as a platoon you’d better be able to catch the ball. I like the idea of bringing Snider up…but, if this is ‘more about Snider’s development’, at least let Davis start. Put him in the 9 hole as a second lead off batter. He can start somethinmg with his legs and won’t kill us in the outfield.

  35. I’m all for giving Snider a chance because the kid’s been mistreated throughout this career here. I would send Thames down and bring Snider back up. Play him every goddamn’ day no matter what. If he stinks, he stinks. We’ll know he stinks and can proceed accordingly. It may even be that he stinks here and succeeds elsewhere. Whatever happens, give the kid a chance. I doubt this team will make the play-offs this season. We’re still deficient in pitching. Let’s make a decision on Travis Snider one way or the other right now. Even if AA just wants to trade his ass, he needs a few decent at-bats at the major league level in order to get something back.

    • Funny thing is, without the surprisingly good starting pitching, that the Jays record would be much worse than it is. Lots of quality starts, but exceptionally sleep bats!

  36. Yes, Thames has had a bad start.. IN 15 MOTHERFUCKING GAMES!

    I understand the frustration with some people saying “Thames has been at least average so far (-0.2 fWAR),” but you have to be retarded if you think demoting Thames after 15 fucking games is the answer. Why not send Bautista down too while we’re at it (pray he clears waivers)? Thames’ .ISO and wRC+ are both down due to a lack of power, but if tonight he hits 3 doubles, all of a sudden those numbers are above average because it’s such a small sample size.

    Thames needs to stay up because no one knows if he can turn thing around with a bigger sample size for this season, and no one knows if Snider can keep this pace up with a bigger sample size.

    It makes my head hurt when people say “Snider needs time to figure it out,” but also chime in with gold like “Thames doesn’t need time to figure it out; he clearly sucks, even though he has ½ the MLB service time as Snider.”

    I also don’t understand comments like, “..people were so high on this guy last year because he smacked fastballs for doubles hitting in front of the best player in baseball.” There’s no such thing as line-up protection in baseball. If there was, Corey Patterson would have hit better than .239 in 2011, and better than Thames’ .269, seeing as he’s not, y’know, a rookie.

    • Wrong.

      He’s sucked in the field for his entire life. This is not a 15 game issue. All the numbers show this to be true. His numbers, while ok, are not good enough to make up for this.

      Comparing it to Bautista is just dumb. For him it really is a small sample size, and….He… Can …Catch…a… Baseball.

      • I did not refer to his defense. Ever. Nor would I say it’s better than 2011, because it’s worse. But, it’s 15 games. Citing small sample sizes is an act of stupidity.

        Comparing it to Bautista is just dumb

        Jose Bautista: 17 games, 0.2 fWAR
        Eric Thames: 15 games, -0.2 fWAR

        How is it dumb comparing these two? Because it’s 15 games. Which is exactly my point, which clearly flew over your head.

  37. you don’t get it parkes.

  38. That’s a pretty tough catch, no? Thames has made one or two (but only one or two) bad plays this season, but I’m not sure it’s fair to chalk that one to bad defense, or at least I might give him a mulligan. It’s not as bad as Alex Rios tipping the ball into the crowd at Fenway anyway, and Rios was generally seen as pretty good defensively.

    Personally, I wanted Snider up to start the season, but I’m not going to demote Thames on the basis of average defense and a bad start, when Snider may or may not be just as poor offensively, if a definitely improvement defensively.

    My take on it, Which Has No Value Whatsover But I’m Going To Tell You Anyway (henceforth WHNVWBIGTTYA, as it should be included in all fan post everywhere, all the time), would be platoon Thames and Snider until you’ve really worked out which one is ‘the real deal’, and if that means Rajai Davis doesn’t play much, so be it.

  39. Regarding the Wieters home run.

    Given that a shift was on, how many Left Fielders get to that pitch in the first place? Sure, he got there, so it seems like he should have made the catch. But how does that compare (apologies – I’m not that knowledgeable).

    As was pointed out, where Thames really looked bad was the earlier double that he badly misplayed off the wall. Luckly Rasmus was there to bail him out or that could have been a triple.

  40. Daddy, whats that thing in thames left hand? its not a ball. why its a glove for catching son. what does he need that for Daddy? he doesnt need it son, its just for show.

  41. Rasmus7, Gose8, Bautista9. snider0, theENC3, Thames7 (in LV to build confidence/ trade value/ manicure facial) Davis/FransiscoMEH … Gose (even if he doesn’t hit) n Snider>>> Lind n Thames …

  42. Simmer the hell down! It’s 17 games in! A couple of blown games or it could be 12-5. That said, 10-7 and taking the next two against the Orioles will take the threat level down.

    LF is a clear weak point in this lineup, but ALL lineups have a weakness. Ours isn’t as profound as many teams that are looked on as fantastic.

    The Thames/ Snider LF battle will wage on. Thames has played laughably bad defense to date (I can think of 4 plays off the top of my head that were torrible), but you have to ride things a bit before you shuffle the cards.

    This team will hit better than they have been and, if the pitching holds, the team is capable of winning plenty of games.

    This whole debate shouldn’t be revisited for another 15 games. That takes us through 1/5th if the season.


  43. as much as I agree with you that snider is & will be a better player. I honestly think 1 full year of triple A could really make a huge difference for him. We all know he has nothing to prove there, but at the same time hes going to go out & do his best to prove he belongs & its the best place to work on mechanics & it won’t matter if he screws up doing it, a full year for him to really figure out his mechanics & swing and get them 100% down pat, then next year or maybe as a september call up he can come up and be everything we once saw in him as a top prospect. at this point, its his last option, so why not take advantage of it & give him the absolute max time possible to really get his mechanics hammered down in the minors, because the next time he comes up hes here for good & hopefully will destroy mlb pitching for a long time

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