Frank Thomas was one of my absolute favorite draft targets coming into the year. With all of the negatives against him, most people felt it appropriate to ignore the numbers. Injury risk, only UT-eligible, 39 years old, big 2006 might be a ‘fluke,’ etc. I talked about him in the preseason and in an April ‘Buy Low’ post, so hopefully you ignored these people and either drafted him or have traded for him recently. The time for that might be over, now, but in hoping that it isn’t, I’ll examine him and strongly advise you to try and get him.
Thomas has hit 11 Home Runs so far (excluding today’s), and 8 have traveled farther than 399 true feet, according to HitTracker. The furthest went 441 true feet. Given his 55% Fly ball rate and his lack of shorter HRs, I expect his 20 AB/HR to only get better as the year goes on. His HR/FB is just 10% (league average), and seeing how he crushes the ball, I would hardly call him a league average power hitter. That should grow closer to its level of the past 4 years: 17.6%, 18.4%, 28.6%, and 17.4% in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006, respectively.
For such a great power hitter, Thomas also displays the skills of a good contact hitter. His 83% Contact rate is better than that of Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Prince Fielder, Alfonso Soriano, Miguel Cabrera, and a slew of other more heralded hitters. His 17.6% Walk rate is also fantastic, and despite a very high Fly ball rate, his Line Drive rate is quite good, too. It has been 20% — on average — since 2002, and although it is just 17% this year, it has been 19.6% this month (to go with a 57% Fly ball rate). His poor speed will steal a few hits from him, but his .250 BABIP is likely to increase. I wouldn’t be surprised if his BA ended up at .280. He’s hitting in the middle of a good lineup, so RBIs will be plentiful and the Runs should come at a good pace as well.
Thomas is starting to heat up, so you should hurry and get him while you can. He will only be able to play in your UT spot, but his talent as a hitter more than makes up for this restriction.