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Free Agent Profile: Frank Thomas

Frank Thomas

The Big Hurt was one of this year’s strongest candidates for AL Comeback Player of the Year, but he fell short, not because of a lack of success, but because Jim Thome had a truly amazing season after a period of mediocrity.  Frank Thomas did show however, that he’s back, and his huge bat and monstrous power will be of huge assistance to one of the 14 American League teams. 

Frank Thomas (Designated Hitter)

Here’s a look at the Big Hurt’s 2006 “basic” statistics

  • Batting Average: .270
  • On-Base Percentage: .381
  • Slugging Percengage: .545
  • OPS: .926
  • Doubles: 11 — could have had more if not for his speed (or lack thereof)
  • Triples: 0 — if you can’t run, good luck getting a 3-bagger
  • Homeruns: 39
  • RBI: 114
  • Runs: 77
  • Stolen Bases: 0 — if he steals a base, the catcher should be ejected
  • Walks: 81 — inflated due to intentional walks
  • Strikeouts: 81 — a bit on the high side

The Big Hurt can certainly put the bat on the ball!  Here’s a look at what Frank Thomas does in various important situations — a valuable list since a DH can only be evaluated by his production at the plate. 

  • Bases Empty: .274/.379/.587
  • Runners On: .266/.383/.502
  • RISP: .288/.400/.547 — solid, but not as good as FA competitors
  • RISP w/2 outs: .286/.427/.558
  • Bases Loaded: .333/.476/.400 — that SLG could use some work

Here are the Big Hurt’s “split” stats

  • Vs. lefties: .245/.429/.538
  • Vs. righties: .278/.365/.547 — hmmm…something weird about those OBPs
  • Home: .242/.347/.549
  • Away: .302/.417/.541 — home sweet home?  I think not

A quick glance at those numbers reveals that Frank Thomas does equally well in just about any situation.  Here are the situations in which the Big Hurt can really put the “Hurt” on you — in other words, the situations in which Thomas thrives.

  • Leading off an inning: .326/.400/.729 — 15HR
  • First pitch of an AB: .438/.441/1.125 — better throw a ball to start him off!
  • Runner on 3rd with 0-1 out: .323/.357/.613

And the flip-side; the situations in which Frank Thomas struggles.

  • Nobody on with 1-2 out: .213/.356/.417 — OBP is high due to int. walks
  • After a 2-2 count: .214/.371/.397
  • Behind in the count: .220/.336/.400

Those are, for the most part, the situations in which most hitters struggle, so the Big Hurt doesn’t have any extraordinary issues at the plate.  He thrives early on in at-bats, which is very valuable if there’s someone on base at the time.  Some of his OBP numbers you should know however, are inflated because Thomas was walked intentionally quite often because the rest of Oakland’s lineup is inconsistent, at best.

Here I’ll throw in what I consider to be the most impressive statistic Frank Thomas put together.  Take a look at the Big Hurt’s huge improvement from before the All-Star Break to after it.

  • Pre ASB: .238/.367/.523
  • Post ASB: .298/.393/.563

He produced for the A’s when they needed him most — down the stretch.  Many borderline playoff contenders need that hot bat during the final weeks or months of the season, and Thomas’ numbers from 2006 show that he can certainly fill that role. 

 

Where will Frank Thomas end up?

There are plenty of teams that could use a guy like Frank Thomas as their designated hitter, but that’s the only “position” the Big Hurt can play.  If Thomas can stay healthy, he’s a very valuable designated hitter, and a cheap one at that.  The clubs likely to show interest in Thomas are the A’s (his 2006 team), Tigers, Angels, and possibly the Blue Jays.  Other clubs could certainly jump into the mix, but those 4 are the teams with the best chance to land the Big Hurt for 2007 and beyond.  Contract-wise, Thomas is looking for a 3 year deal, though he told the A’s he might be willing to accept a 2 year contract to stay in Oakland.  Financially, 4-5 million a year is probably a good estimate for the Hurt’s contract, but it could certainly be higher or lower, depending on incentives. 

My guess: The Big Hurt remains in Oakland for 2-3 years and around 8-11 million. 

Stats-wise, Thomas should hit around .275-.285 with 35-45HR, 90-95RBI, and about 85-90 runs scored in 2007. 

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Tomorrow’s Profile: Jason Schmidt

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Trivia Time!

Yesterday’s question was (see: Free Agent Profile: Nomar Garciaparra)…

Nomar Garciaparra’s brother, Michael, currently plays for which team’s AAA affiliate?

The correct answer…

Michael Garciaparra is an infielder with the Seattle Mariners AAA affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers.

Today’s question is…

Who gave Frank Thomas the nickname “Big Hurt”?

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