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Frank the Tank
by Tony Aubry
September 20, 2006
Is it just me, or is Frank Thomas not getting nearly as much recognition as he deserves for the MVP. Why? Well, two things come to mind. A) Itís the fact that he plays on a west coast team in a sport that has an east coast bias, and B) heís a DH.
If Thomas were playing on the Yankees right now, I think heíd be a shoe-in. The Yankees easily get the most publicity in the country and are, well, theyíre the Yankees. So far, he has hit 38 HR, driven in 105, scored 73, and has posted a line of .281/.391/.568 Of course, a .568 SLG% is nothing to sneeze at, but it would be much higher if Thomas didnít move like as three toed sloth. If you look at what Thomas has done this season, the one thing that jumps out at you are his 2B. He only has 10. This is not because he doesnít hit gappers, itís just that his foot is still bothering him. Iím not going to give him extra credit because he is/was injured, I just want you to imagine what his SLG% would be had he not been injured.
Also, if Thomas played on the Yankees, or another east coast team for the matter, not only would he get more publicity, but he would also get to hit a better lineup. Other than Nick Swisher, who has gone .252/.358/.482, the Aís canít hit for beans. Oakland is next to last in BA, 12th in runs, and last in TB and SLG%. If Thomas played for a remotely good offense, his RBI would be through the roof, a stat that voters are in love with.
I know Jeter supporters are going to quickly point out that Jeter plays defense and Thomas doesnít. Well yeah, Thomas doesnít play defense, which means he canít hurt his team by doing so. Jeter, on the other hand, can. Surprisingly, Jeter somehow has improved on his defense as he has gotten older. However, he has only 2 Fielding runs and has 4.4 Fielding Win Shares, which is good for 9th among A.L SSís. Jeter does play defense, but he barely helps his team. ďWhat about his great fielding percentage?Ē Yes, his fielding percentage is superb, but you canít make an error on a ball that you canít get to. How many teams do you see Jeter dive for a ball or not even make a move on a ball that is slowly moving past him? Yeah, exactly.
So next time you have a conversation with one of your buddies about who should win the MVP, you donít have to say Thomas, but at least give the Tank his due and mention his name.
Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Tony Aubry lives in Queens, New York, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.