|Image courtesy of Daylife via AP|
After spending the first six weeks of the season with the Las Vegas 51’s, Eric Thames will make his long-awaited (and by long I mean six weeks of waiting) debut with the Toronto Blue Jays.
I think we can safely say this is the second most anticipated call-up from Las Vegas, with the first of course being Brett Lawrie.
Although folks were very excited about the Kyle Drabek September call-up last year, I can’t remember a prospect in recent memory that has garnered this much attention this quickly.
Kyle Drabek’s success was well documented in the minor leagues with New Hampshire last season, and ever since Brett Lawrie was acquired, people have kept a close eye on him as well. Eric Thames on the other hand, somehow managed to slip under the radar.
I’m not claiming to be the biggest expert on prospects, but I can’t recall even hearing a peep about Eric Thames at all last season. Somehow, he very quietly put together a terrific season with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
Perhaps that’s part of the reason why the front office chose to call up Eric Thames instead of Brett Lawrie. The Blue Jays are fairly certain Lawrie will do big things with the club, but Thames rapid rise to the major league level has been so quick, they want to see if he’s the real deal.
As Richard Griffin said on Twitter last night, when Brett Lawrie gets the call, it won’t be a temporary solution. Lawrie will be here to stay once he arrives with the Blue Jays. Eric Thames is another left-handed bat and potentially a fourth outfielder once Travis Snider returns.
Eric Thames should get plenty of at bats over the next few weeks, as David Cooper received lots of playing time in his short tenure with the club. Cooper collected 41 plate appearances in just over 2 weeks, and I imagine the same will apply to Thames as the de facto DH and occasional outfielder.
It doesn’t make much sense to bring up Eric Thames and have him waste away on the bench, so let’s hope John Farrell makes the most of Thames playing time. The trouble is Eric has a very short window in which to impress the coaching staff to warrant keeping him on the roster.
Travis Snider is no doubt itching to get back with the Blue Jays, and if he continues to perform at his current pace in Las Vegas, the Blue Jays will be hard-pressed to keep him in the minor leagues for very much longer.
All this paranoia aside about who will be nipping at the heels at Eric Thames, I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do with the Blue Jays. It’s like gambling with house money because the Blue Jays haven’t really had much in the way of stakes in Eric Thames until this year.
Just like in Las Vegas, sometimes you bust and sometimes you hit the jackpot. And heaven forbid Eric Thames goes belly up as a prospect, at least the Blue Jays didn’t have a great deal invested in him.
On the flip side, if the Blue Jays hit the jackpot with Eric Thames and he becomes the stud they’re hoping he will be, then it’s all money in the bank.