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.

  1. Herb Urban says:

    Who is this Frank Thomas? Is he one of those moneyball guys in the A’s farm system? Is he a better sleeper than Dick Allen?

    Maybe Karabell is playing fantasy slow pitch softball this year and posted his article to the wrong site.

    Speaking of guys under 60, will TB ever get Johnny Gomes 500 AB in a season? I’ve been looking for him to provide a cheap 35 HR season for a couple years now.

  2. Who We Are says:

    I wouldn’t trust the Rays to do right by anyone.

  3. Ben Westrup says:

    Frank Thomas’s average since 2001 is .260.
    I don’t know if I’d take Kotchman over him though. I like Kotchman and I think he’s a good hitter, but Thomas has a much better shot of hitting 25 homeruns than Kotchman does of hitting 20. Other guys like Votto would probably be gone by the late rounds.
    As far as Thomas not hitting as many fly balls any more, he hit 221 in 2007, two less than he hit in 2006 when he hit 39 homeruns. I don’t think he’ll hit 30 homeruns again, but I think the numbers you predicted are definitely possible.
    I’d definitely take a guy who’ll hit .260/22/80 in the last couple of rounds of a 12 team draft, especially if I think he could provided a bit better average and pop.

  4. Who We Are says:

    My math was off or I made a typo on the average, but obviously we are close to agreeing on the projections.

    2 less fly balls, is still less. Power is obviously declining if he hit 13 fewer home runs.

    IMO, does a disservice to your team to fill your utility spot with a guy with the upside of Thomas. Kotchman is young and has upside; I’d rather take that gamble at the end of a draft. Personally, I like to be done with offense by the end of a draft and grab high upside middlemen.

  5. rudygamble says:

    i’m still knee deep in my 2008 player rater but based on the projections i’ve seen for frank thomas, i’d pass on him too.

    low upside, high injury risk, low average, and no position flexibility.

    i think you go for the best available cornerman or OF in this spot assuming you play in a league where ortiz and hafner get 1B. i think thome is good enough but wouldn’t pick him in the first 150 players.

  6. Who We Are says:


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