ESPN’s top “analyst,” Eric Karabell, lit a flame nugget under me when he decided to tout Frank Thomas as a big 2008 sleeper. That’s right, the soon-to-be 40 year-old, Toronto DH who limps around the bases. Seems to me that Karabell has been sleeping for the last ten years. You need to be an ESPN Outsider to read the entire Frank Thomas is a “big 2008 sleeper” hooey, but I’ll recycle the relevant rubbish here:
The Big Hurt isn’t young, has a limited ceiling and certainly isn’t the same player who put up Hall of Fame stats for more than a decade, but he’s hardly a bad option at this point. In fact, in one of the January drafts I had, Thomas was my 22nd-round pick, the second to last player I chose. I kept waiting and waiting and nobody wanted the guy. I was stacked on offense, and intended to use my utility spot for steals, but how could I turn down a shot at Thomas?
Utility spot filled with a diminishing-skills 40-year-old? This is mind numbing. Was Dave Roberts already off the board? How about Mike Schmidt? Greg Luzinski?
Karabaloney doesn’t say who was still on the board this late in the draft, but you absolutely have to take an upside guy (LaRoche, Kotchman, Votto, etc.) or round out your pitching with a quality middleman who might get you saves (Rodney, Broxton, Betancourt, etc.). If you take Frank Thomas, you’re just not trying hard enough or paying attention. The Big Limp is not hitting as many fly balls and his average is (updated) around .260 since 2001. Sure, he takes walks, but he should be lifted every time he gets on the basepaths. Watching him run is as painful as watching Claire Danes act. At age forty, if his career continues to decline (which there’s no reason to think it won’t), he’s lucky to go 22-80-.260 with a paltry 60 runs. As Rich Dad might say, that’s a liability not an asset. You’re welcome.