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View Full Version : Frank Thomas - Power vs. Average


FightingBillini
02-16-2005, 03:19 AM
I have been thinking about this for over a year now. As we all know, Frank WAS the American League MVP in 2000. He batted .328 with an OBP of .436. Since then, he was injured in 2001 and slumped in 2002. Coming into 03, I remember hearing Frank say "I'm just swinging for the fences. My job on this team is to hit homers, not doubles". Frank had a good year in 03 by any standards but his own. He hit 42 homers, but with only 105 RBI and a .267 average. In his limited time last year he batter .271.

I am of the feeling that Frank needs to revert to his old hitting technique, and not just swing for the fences. I think homeruns are overrated. Frank would help the team more hitting 35 homers and batting .320 than hitting 49 homers and batting .275. If he hits for average, the homers will come. It is especially painful because Frank is one of the greatest hitters of all time, and he can still play. His career average is falling toward .300, and I don't like that. Frank can still be the most dangerous hitter in the game. I want him to retire with the White Sox, with 500 homers, a .300 average, 3 MVPs, and a world series ring. In my eyes, Frank was never a quote unquote power hitter. He was a great hitter, who was strong as hell. Homers came to him, he didn't swing for the fences, and he didn't take steroids to increase his numbers. Frank was a far more special hitter than a "power hitter". I hope he can rekindle that.

Jabroni
02-16-2005, 03:26 AM
You forget to mention that Frank's OBP was still .390 in 2003 and .434 in his shortened season last year. I think Frank can afford to hit around .270 if he keeps his OBP around .400 or higher.

FightingBillini
02-16-2005, 03:28 AM
You forget to mention that Frank's OBP was still .390 in 2003 and .434 in his shortened season last year. I think Frank can afford to hit around .270 if he keeps his OBP around .400 or higher.

Agreed. He can afford to hit .270 with that OBP, but I would prefer a .436 OBP with a higher average and less homers if necessary.

Jabroni
02-16-2005, 03:35 AM
Agreed. He can afford to hit .270 with that OBP, but I would prefer a .436 OBP with a higher average and less homers if necessary.Of course, we all would prefer that. But Frank is 36 years old and coming off an ankle injury to his plant foot. He also will have some rust since he hasn't played since last year's All-Star break and he could miss the entire Spring Training this year. We need to first worry about him getting to 100% before we start worrying about him raising his AVG and OBP and lowering his homerun swings.

Wanne
02-16-2005, 04:02 AM
and he didn't take steroids to increase his numbers.

I'm surprised we've never heard Frank's name mentioned with the accusations flyin' around...especially for as big as he is. I know Frank's always been big...but I'm just kind of surprised. I'd be shocked if it came out that he was a juicer. For his career numbers...he doesn't seem to get much love.

Mohoney
02-16-2005, 04:04 AM
In his limited time last year he batter .271.

But he was making a serious run at .300 until he started playing hurt. He was in the high .290s as late as June 22, and then the AVG and OBP started to dip.

Cubbiesuck13
02-16-2005, 04:56 AM
The reason why Frank is special is because his eye. He is huge and of course can hit a homer but all through his career his ability to work a count and/or take a walk has been the most special part of his game. IMO, his ability to work a count is on par with his ability to hit for average early on and much more important than his home runs.

kraut83
02-16-2005, 08:20 AM
I'm surprised we've never heard Frank's name mentioned with the accusations flyin' around...especially for as big as he is. I know Frank's always been big...but I'm just kind of surprised. I'd be shocked if it came out that he was a juicer. For his career numbers...he doesn't seem to get much love.

I've been thinking about this too. Maybe people realize that he played major college football & has looked pretty much the same since he's been in the league. It will be interesting when he retires to see what the Chicago media's view/spin on it will be.

soxtalker
02-16-2005, 08:31 AM
I have been thinking about this for over a year now. As we all know, Frank WAS the American League MVP in 2000. He batted .328 with an OBP of .436. Since then, he was injured in 2001 and slumped in 2002. Coming into 03, I remember hearing Frank say "I'm just swinging for the fences. My job on this team is to hit homers, not doubles". Frank had a good year in 03 by any standards but his own. He hit 42 homers, but with only 105 RBI and a .267 average. In his limited time last year he batter .271.

I am of the feeling that Frank needs to revert to his old hitting technique, and not just swing for the fences. I think homeruns are overrated. Frank would help the team more hitting 35 homers and batting .320 than hitting 49 homers and batting .275. If he hits for average, the homers will come. It is especially painful because Frank is one of the greatest hitters of all time, and he can still play. His career average is falling toward .300, and I don't like that. Frank can still be the most dangerous hitter in the game. I want him to retire with the White Sox, with 500 homers, a .300 average, 3 MVPs, and a world series ring. In my eyes, Frank was never a quote unquote power hitter. He was a great hitter, who was strong as hell. Homers came to him, he didn't swing for the fences, and he didn't take steroids to increase his numbers. Frank was a far more special hitter than a "power hitter". I hope he can rekindle that.

Wasn't that what Frank was doing last year? As others have pointed out, his OBP was huge due to his large number of walks. (IIRC, Barry Bonds was the only player with more walks when Frank was injured.) And he did that with Maggs and CLee in the line up. I suspect that pitchers will be even more tempted to avoid pitching to Frank without those two.

hold2dibber
02-16-2005, 09:53 AM
I'm surprised we've never heard Frank's name mentioned with the accusations flyin' around...especially for as big as he is. I know Frank's always been big...but I'm just kind of surprised. I'd be shocked if it came out that he was a juicer. For his career numbers...he doesn't seem to get much love.

I think one reason is that Frank never had an unusual power surge during his career. His power numbers have been pretty consistent, as has his size, throughout his career. Unlike, for example, somebody like Sosa or Bonds, who all of the sudden bulked up and started hitting homers way beyond their career norms.

TheBull19
02-16-2005, 02:50 PM
If Frank was batting .330 at the time, he would've said he was just trying to get basehits. I think you're making too much of a single statement from 2 years ago from a man who's known to be a bit contradictory.

mdep524
02-16-2005, 03:03 PM
If Frank was batting .330 at the time, he would've said he was just trying to get basehits. I think you're making too much of a single statement from 2 years ago from a man who's known to be a bit contradictory.
No, I think Billini's right. At the time Frank made a conscious effort to hit more homeruns. On the surface he said it was to help the team, but I'm sure the important 500 HR mark and Hall of Fame credentials entered his mind as well.

I always liked the .330 BA Frank more than the pure power Frank. When he goes to rightfield and takes his hits he is unstoppable. I really hope his foot heals and he can get back into a nice rhythm this year.

OurBitchinMinny
02-16-2005, 03:41 PM
I dont know why it has to be one or the other. He used to do both just fine. Why cant he hit .320 and hit 40 HRs? But Id rather he have the good average

JRIG
02-16-2005, 03:44 PM
No, I think Billini's right. At the time Frank made a conscious effort to hit more homeruns. On the surface he said it was to help the team, but I'm sure the important 500 HR mark and Hall of Fame credentials entered his mind as well.

I always liked the .330 BA Frank more than the pure power Frank. When he goes to rightfield and takes his hits he is unstoppable. I really hope his foot heals and he can get back into a nice rhythm this year.

I find this thread somewhat ironic. Back in the mid-to-late 90s, I remember Frank getting tons of crap for not hitting enough home runs and worrying too much about batting average.

I'm going to let the best player in White Sox history hit however he wants.

RKMeibalane
02-16-2005, 04:17 PM
I find this thread somewhat ironic. Back in the mid-to-late 90s, I remember Frank getting tons of crap for not hitting enough home runs and worrying too much about batting average.

I'm going to let the best player in White Sox history hit however he wants.

I remember that clear as day. Every idiot from New York to Los Angeles was whining about how Frank could have gotten more RBIs if he were more agressive at the plate. During the 1994 AS Game, Joe Morgan made several comments that conveyed the same message.

More than anything, I think people in the media just like to whine and complain, regardless of what's actually happening. I agree that Frank should be able to do whatever he wants. As long as he's not hurting the team, I don't see any reason for him to change his approach at the plate. Every team needs at least one player to put MVP/HOF numbers in order to contend for a championship. The only reliable player the Sox have to do that is Frank Thomas.

mdep524
02-16-2005, 04:52 PM
I find this thread somewhat ironic. Back in the mid-to-late 90s, I remember Frank getting tons of crap for not hitting enough home runs and worrying too much about batting average.

I'm going to let the best player in White Sox history hit however he wants.
I totally agree with you, and I always thought those people were wrong. He won the batting title in 1997, I mean how cool was that!? It seemd like no matter what Frank did there was someone to rag on him. :(:

maurice
02-16-2005, 05:10 PM
Joe Morgan made several comments that conveyed the same message.

Joe Morgan (.271 career AVE / .427 career SLG) telling Frank Thomas (.308 / .567) how to hit?

:kukoo: :nuts: :smokin:

Ted Williams (.344 / .634) had to listen to the same BS.

MRKARNO
02-16-2005, 06:17 PM
I'll be extremely happy if Thomas just goes back to what he did last year because it was working very well. He played on 74 games and was walked 64 times. The team leader last year was Paul Konerko with 69 walks in 155 games. Thomas had about the same amount of walks in half as many games as the team leader. That's incredible. Thomas was on track for about 40 homers and the best AL OBP. Had Thomas finished the year with the same OBP, he would have been 15 points higher than the eventual leader, Melvin Mora (.434 for Thomas compared to .419 for Mora). I hope Thomas just takes the same approach that he did last year and works on staying healthy and on the field. If he is successful in that and the White Sox don't have too bad bad breaks, the Sox will win the AL Central. He is the key.

PAPChiSox729
02-16-2005, 07:02 PM
I'll be extremely happy if Thomas just goes back to what he did last year because it was working very well. He played on 74 games and was walked 64 times. The team leader last year was Paul Konerko with 69 walks in 155 games. Thomas had about the same amount of walks in half as many games as the team leader. That's incredible. Thomas was on track for about 40 homers and the best AL OBP. Had Thomas finished the year with the same OBP, he would have been 15 points higher than the eventual leader, Melvin Mora (.434 for Thomas compared to .419 for Mora). I hope Thomas just takes the same approach that he did last year and works on staying healthy and on the field. If he is successful in that and the White Sox don't have too bad bad breaks, the Sox will win the AL Central. He is the key.

I agree. I think the days of Frank hitting .300 are long gone. I would be very pleasantly surprised if he hit .290. As you stated, Frank, if he stayed healthy, probably would have led the AL in OBP. This guy, though he doesn't hit for average, is still much of an offensive threat. And he is a key to this season. If he comes back in May, hits 25 homers, gets around 75 RBI, and hits around .275, the Sox lineup is in very, very good shape.

RKMeibalane
02-16-2005, 07:07 PM
Joe Morgan (.271 career AVE / .427 career SLG) telling Frank Thomas (.308 / .567) how to hit?

:kukoo: :nuts: :smokin:

Morgan's ego is rather large.

Dadawg_77
02-16-2005, 07:37 PM
No, I think Billini's right. At the time Frank made a conscious effort to hit more homeruns. On the surface he said it was to help the team, but I'm sure the important 500 HR mark and Hall of Fame credentials entered his mind as well.

I always liked the .330 BA Frank more than the pure power Frank. When he goes to rightfield and takes his hits he is unstoppable. I really hope his foot heals and he can get back into a nice rhythm this year.

The only that stoped Frank last was his foot. Any hitter who puts up the numbers Frank did last year, helps his team out.

RKMeibalane
02-16-2005, 08:00 PM
The only that stoped Frank last was his foot. Any hitter who puts up the numbers Frank did last year, helps his team out.

And, as was mentioned earlier, the only reason Frank's average dropped last season was because he tried playing on his bad ankle for two weeks after injuring it. If he had stopped playing immediately, he would have finished at around .290, which is perfectly acceptable when considering his walk totals, OBP, and SLG%.

Dadawg_77
02-16-2005, 08:16 PM
And, as was mentioned earlier, the only reason Frank's average dropped last season was because he tried playing on his bad ankle for two weeks after injuring it. If he had stopped playing immediately, he would have finished at around .290, which is perfectly acceptable when considering his walk totals, OBP, and SLG%.

Perfectly acceptable, nah more like MVP type of year.

Deadguy
02-16-2005, 08:28 PM
I'll be extremely happy if Thomas just goes back to what he did last year because it was working very well.

I agree. Before his injury, he had the highest walk/PA and HR/PA ratios of his career, even better than 1994. Very impressive, considering his age. Agility and quickness may be deteriorating, but his batter's eye and power aren't going to disappear as quickly, and that ussually can equate into a high OPS. He's basically turned into a Harmon Killebrew type of slugger, which isn't necessarilly something that we don't need on this team.

With Delgado out of the league, and Giambi off the juice, Manny Ramirez is the only one who is capable of putting up the OPS that Frank was putting up in the mid-90s and 2000. He could very well be an MVP candidate if he can just duplicate what he was doing last year.

balke
02-16-2005, 09:07 PM
I don't know if anyone remembers, but I never miss a FT at-bat. The last 2-3 weeks of his season, he was playing like crap. It was a complete shift from how he'd been playing all season. I noticed in his last week he was obviously playing hurt.

He was hitting .280-.290 the majority of last season. Going over .300 several times. It was just a short season, and he pulled a bunch of 0-fers before officially going down to injury. HE IMPROVED HIS SWING, better than at least the last 2 years. He had a way to fight off the inside pitch that he didn't have for years prior. He looked great, and had the luxury of walking a lot because of all the hitters around him. SUPER HIGH OBP.

Don't forget, he CARRIED this team on his back w/ Maggs out and kept us in first. I doubt Maggs could've done that w/o Frank. Have a little faith, we'll need this guy, and be BEGGING for someone like him for years after he's gone.. W/O steroids and their unfortunate injuries, He and Griffey would BE baseball w/o steroids. Just my Opinion.

wassagstdu
02-16-2005, 10:05 PM
Thomas should have been MVP in 2000? Just think about how he would be thought of by now if the steroid phase had never happened. (Assuming of course that he was not part of it, which I tend to believe for the reasons cited in this thread.) THAT is the cost to the game of this madness.