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View Full Version : Is Frank Thomas a bit under-appreciated?



WadeKobe
06-26-2012, 01:37 AM
K... I've never made a homer thread before, so this is my mulligan :)

Frank Thomas was my favorite player growing up, with Clemens and Bagwell coming in behind him. I watched every Sox game I could living on the east coast, and I was just in awe of him. However, at the time, before SABRmetrics really took hold, everyone was talking about guys like Palmiero and McGwire.

Looking at his production, he was the second best hitter in the 1990s behind Barry Bonds.

wRC+ - 2nd
wOBA - 2nd
fWAR - 4th
OBP - 1st
OPS+ - 3rd
oWAR - 2nd

And just to show you what opposing pitchers and teams thought... he was 2nd in intentional walks during that time period, also. Also, among comparable batters (150+ wRC+), he and Barry Bonds were tied for the lowest K-Rates at 12.2%.

Does Thomas get lost in the flurry of home runs that got hit over the next 5 years? It just seems to me that most people would think of Griffey and McGwire before they'd think of Thomas.

Jeffy25
06-26-2012, 01:40 AM
In baseball history? Yes.

He was a fantastic hitter. While he was playing in the early 90's he was one of the very best (he and Griffey were so much fun to root for).


I'd say he is around a top 5 1B of all time (poor defense).

And he is arguably a top 5 hitter of all time.

RTL
06-26-2012, 01:42 AM
No, he is not under-appreciated

Jeffy25
06-26-2012, 01:43 AM
Career

.416 wOBA (7th best of all time)
154 wRC+ (10th best of all time)

But his 10,000 PA are ahead of everyone ahead of him other than Musial on that list

6th all time in wRC (1949)

WadeKobe
06-26-2012, 01:46 AM
Career

.416 wOBA (7th best of all time)
154 wRC+ (10th best of all time)

But his 10,000 PA are ahead of everyone ahead of him other than Musial on that list

6th all time in wRC (1949)

I always knew he was good and as a kid, I was always a homer about him and was convinced he was the best... I did my best to ignore Bonds, who I knew was the best player in the world (and was probably my 4th favorite). I never bought the Griffey hype, although I loved to cheer for the guy, and you had to like him. I always believed Thomas was the much better hitter, and that Bonds was the better player.

I never got into SABR stuff until about 6 months ago, due to school. Now that I have time, I've done a lot of studying on statistics, and looked a lot at Bonds and Thomas, and I just never really knew that Thomas was as incredible as he was until recently. It is exciting.

It is neat to see that SABRmetrics are sort of confirming my thoughts as a kid. However, we'll chalk that up to coincidence. lol.

Jeffy25
06-26-2012, 01:50 AM
I always knew he was good and as a kid, I was always a homer about him and was convinced he was the best... I did my best to ignore Bonds, who I knew was the best player in the world (and was probably my 4th favorite). I never bought the Griffey hype, although I loved to cheer for the guy, and you had to like him. I always believed Thomas was the much better hitter, and that Bonds was the better player.

I never got into SABR stuff until about 6 months ago, due to school. Now that I have time, I've done a lot of studying on statistics, and looked a lot at Bonds and Thomas, and I just never really knew that Thomas was as incredible as he was until recently. It is exciting.

It is neat to see that SABRmetrics are sort of confirming my thoughts as a kid. However, we'll chalk that up to coincidence. lol.

That's what happened with me and sabr-metrics.

I always knew Pujols was good, but sabr-metrics showed how damn good he really is. It can show you someone isn't as good as you once thought (like Lou Brock) and how good someone really was (like Thomas and Pujols).

Thomas is probably solidified as a top 10 hitter of all time, maybe top 5. He was that beastly of a hitter.

WadeKobe
06-26-2012, 01:56 AM
(poor defense).


Lol, yea. He sucked. Although, one has to think that at some point he realized that if he put all his time in the cage, he'd more than make up for any lack in the field. It is incredibly rare you get a guy with the natural fielding talents like Pujols to go with the bat. Thomas never had that, and it would have taken enough time that it would ahve taken away from his cage time. My guess is he made a calculated decision, and it seems to have paid off well.

Jeffy25
06-26-2012, 02:00 AM
well he obviously belongs in Cooperstown.

WadeKobe
06-26-2012, 02:13 AM
well he obviously belongs in Cooperstown.

If there were anything better than 1st Ballot, he deserves it. :D

LakersA's49ers
06-26-2012, 02:32 AM
frank thomas is a class act and a great ballplayer. still remember his insane 2006 when we had him. He had an insane year for us

WadeKobe
06-26-2012, 02:53 AM
And he is arguably a top 5 hitter of all time.

You mean for 1B, right?

I'm guessing you'd have Gehrig, Musial, Foxx, and Pujols ahead of him, yea?

Jeffy25
06-26-2012, 02:58 AM
You mean for 1B, right?

I'm guessing you'd have Gehrig, Musial, Foxx, and Pujols ahead of him, yea?

Yes, I was looking at the wrong data and it never looked right.

He is a top 20 hitter of all time though.

carson005
06-26-2012, 03:02 AM
Yes, I was looking at the wrong data and it never looked right.

He is a top 20 hitter of all time though.
So based on being outside the top 5 in those categories he deserved to be considered a top 5 hitter?

WadeKobe
06-26-2012, 03:02 AM
Another perspective...

For their first 9 seasons....

Frank Thomas outperformed Pujols in the following categories...

wOBA
wRC+
OPS+
OBP

That is some incredible production, to outproduce Pujols over the first 9 years?

I wonder what his career would have looked like if injuries hadn't hit him. :(

WadeKobe
06-26-2012, 03:03 AM
Yes, I was looking at the wrong data and it never looked right.

He is a top 20 hitter of all time though.

Alright, I'm tracking with you now. I was about to **** my pants. I was like... um... no way was he THAT good.

Jeffy25
06-26-2012, 03:04 AM
So based on being outside the top 5 in those categories he deserved to be considered a top 5 hitter?

I don't know how my post couldn't be more clear :confused:

carson005
06-26-2012, 03:08 AM
I don't know how my post couldn't be more clear :confused:

You edited your post

Jeffy25
06-26-2012, 03:18 AM
You edited your post

and that's the post you quoted :confused:

Yes, I did change it, I was going off incorrect data (I was only looking at first basemen and thinking it was all players, but it wasn't).

WadeKobe
06-26-2012, 03:20 AM
and that's the post you quoted :confused:

lol. I was thinking the same thing.

******2017
06-26-2012, 03:29 AM
I loved watching this guy play baseball. Can't wait until he goes into the Hall because he definitely deserves it.

bagwell368
06-26-2012, 06:58 AM
So based on being outside the top 5 in those categories he deserved to be considered a top 5 hitter?

Funny thing is, when you start throwing up the candidates for top 25 hitters of all time like any normal distribution you end with a guy that might #4, #8, #12 in the 3 stats you are using. Well on average he's #8. Thomas's numbers place him into consideration (IMO) for the #12-18 slots.

To further complicate matters, there is all around players, peak, etc. Jeff Bagwell beats out FT as a player (not as a hitter) because he was a good 1B (and stayed in the field - and FT wasn't and didn't) and a very fine baserunner (for a 1B) with a similar peak (but less PA's). FT lost his chance at the top 10 IMO because in his prime he posted pretty meager (for him) numbers in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002 (age 30-34 period).

All Time 1B (batting):

Gehrig
Foxx
Thomas
Pujols (FT will fall to AP shortly, Foxx is still 3-4 years ahead)
Bagwell
Thome (finishes just about here)

As for the HOF? FT won't be a first ballot because of the "stigma" of being a DH. Too bad. Bagwell hasn't made either because of the whispers about PED's. Both idiotic situations - two middle->top tier HOF'ers - and they battle over trash like Morris.

WadeKobe
06-26-2012, 07:08 AM
Funny thing is, when you start throwing up the candidates for top 25 hitters of all time like any normal distribution you end with a guy that might #4, #8, #12 in the 3 stats you are using. Well on average he's #8. Thomas's numbers place him into consideration (IMO) for the #12-18 slots.

I'd have to look at it, but that's probably about what I figure.


To further complicate matters, there is all around players, peak, etc. Jeff Bagwell beats out FT as a player (not as a hitter) because he was a good 1B (and stayed in the field - and FT wasn't and didn't) and a very fine baserunner (for a 1B) with a similar peak (but less PA's).

Never in my life did I think Bags was better than FT until you just said that. Looking at the numbers, it's really hard to argue against that. :(


FT lost his chance at the top 10 IMO because in his prime he posted pretty meager (for him) numbers in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002 (age 30-34 period).


Like I posted earlier, first 9 years of his career he was better than Pujols' first 9. Injuries hit him pretty hard.


All Time 1B (batting):

Gehrig
Foxx
Thomas
Pujols (FT will fall to AP shortly, Foxx is still 3-4 years ahead)
Bagwell
Thome (finishes just about here)



Musial???



As for the HOF? FT won't be a first ballot because of the "stigma" of being a DH. Too bad. Bagwell hasn't made either because of the whispers about PED's. Both idiotic situations - two middle->top tier HOF'ers - and they battle over trash like Morris.

Hoping you're wrong.

mark1125
06-26-2012, 07:25 AM
I don't think he is under-appreciated at all. If anything, some may not hold him is the highest regard due to the poor 1B/DH factor, but overall I think he gets the respect that he deserves.

Pinstripe pride
06-26-2012, 07:48 AM
Frank Thomas was good at baseball

b-ballistic
06-26-2012, 08:19 AM
K... I've never made a homer thread before, so this is my mulligan :)

Frank Thomas was my favorite player growing up, with Clemens and Bagwell coming in behind him. I watched every Sox game I could living on the east coast, and I was just in awe of him. However, at the time, before SABRmetrics really took hold, everyone was talking about guys like Palmiero and McGwire.

Looking at his production, he was the second best hitter in the 1990s behind Barry Bonds.

wRC+ - 2nd
wOBA - 2nd
fWAR - 4th
OBP - 1st
OPS+ - 3rd
oWAR - 2nd

And just to show you what opposing pitchers and teams thought... he was 2nd in intentional walks during that time period, also. Also, among comparable batters (150+ wRC+), he and Barry Bonds were tied for the lowest K-Rates at 12.2%.

Does Thomas get lost in the flurry of home runs that got hit over the next 5 years? It just seems to me that most people would think of Griffey and McGwire before they'd think of Thomas.

Frank Thomas is one of the most consistent players I've ever seen.

Capital G
06-26-2012, 08:37 AM
he deserves to be in the hall.

2 time MVP... in my book 3 time.

a WS ring (i know he didnt get to play which was sad to see)

on top of all the stats already posted in this thread.

Azzacadabra
06-26-2012, 08:54 AM
Loved watching him pound baseballs. He wasn't called the big hurt for nothing. He's very under-appreciated.

RowBTrice
06-26-2012, 09:10 AM
I caught Mr. Thomas towards the end of his White Sox run. Did he come into the league that big?? Dude was a beast.

todu82
06-26-2012, 09:53 AM
I like the guy, tremendous player. Don't think he's a top 5 first baseman of all-time though in terms of hitting.

Pierzynski4Prez
06-26-2012, 10:22 AM
Favorite player of all time here as well. Pushed me to choose the Sox as my favorite team over the cubs when I was rooting for both as a young teenager. Thank god for Frank.

I think he deserves to be 1st ballot regardless of how long he was DH. He was 30 when he really turned into a nearly full time DH and had already won 2 MVP's by then on top of putting up tremendous numbers (6 of his 1st 8 years OBP over .450, 6 of 8 years OPS above 1.000). Then he even added what should have been another MVP at 32 in a season where he played primarily DH.

Good enough for me.

scottythegreat1
06-26-2012, 10:53 AM
When he got older, he started to quarrel with his head coaches when they tried to fix him. He wanted to play everyday and with his slow starts to the season, coaches started to bench him, and he didnt like it. Thats why they chased him out of Chicago and Toronto.

Frank Thomas was great to watch when he was in Toronto, I loved the guy. My regret is that I wasnt able to see his 500th Home Run.

There are also concerns that he juiced it, even though there was NEVER any proof of it. He always said that he did it the RIGHT WAY and even volunteered to help in the investigation of steroids in baseball (the only current player at the time to do so).

Anyways, He deserves to be in the Hall of fame, both because he didnt use steroids, and because he hit over 500 Home Runs. Obviously should retire as a White Stocking after 15 years with the team.

bagwell368
06-26-2012, 11:04 AM
Musial???


I count Musial as a LF, that's where he had his best years (with the glove and the bat). He also played 1890 games total in the OF (lots in RF and CF too) vs 1016 at 1B.

About four years ago I had him on my all time 25 man team as a backup at OF and 1B - pretty handy for such a great hitter.

About 3 years ago by putting normal HOF player decline in for Bonds in place of the "funny" numbers came to the conclusion Musial was a better hitter then Musial in LF, but that Bonds was the better player overall and they both trailed Ted (since Ted like negro league stars and war vets gets credit for lost years).

DaSox_05
06-26-2012, 11:28 AM
Funny thing is, when you start throwing up the candidates for top 25 hitters of all time like any normal distribution you end with a guy that might #4, #8, #12 in the 3 stats you are using. Well on average he's #8. Thomas's numbers place him into consideration (IMO) for the #12-18 slots.

To further complicate matters, there is all around players, peak, etc. Jeff Bagwell beats out FT as a player (not as a hitter) because he was a good 1B (and stayed in the field - and FT wasn't and didn't) and a very fine baserunner (for a 1B) with a similar peak (but less PA's). FT lost his chance at the top 10 IMO because in his prime he posted pretty meager (for him) numbers in 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2002 (age 30-34 period).

All Time 1B (batting):

Gehrig
Foxx
Thomas
Pujols (FT will fall to AP shortly, Foxx is still 3-4 years ahead)
Bagwell
Thome (finishes just about here)

As for the HOF? FT won't be a first ballot because of the "stigma" of being a DH. Too bad. Bagwell hasn't made either because of the whispers about PED's. Both idiotic situations - two middle->top tier HOF'ers - and they battle over trash like Morris.

Yes he will be first ballot you can guaran-damn-tee that!


I like the guy, tremendous player. Don't think he's a top 5 first baseman of all-time though in terms of hitting.

Yes he is a top 5 1B hitting wise all time and is probably the best right handed hitter of all time.


When he got older, he started to quarrel with his head coaches when they tried to fix him. He wanted to play everyday and with his slow starts to the season, coaches started to bench him, and he didnt like it. Thats why they chased him out of Chicago and Toronto.

Frank Thomas was great to watch when he was in Toronto, I loved the guy. My regret is that I wasnt able to see his 500th Home Run.

There are also concerns that he juiced it, even though there was NEVER any proof of it. He always said that he did it the RIGHT WAY and even volunteered to help in the investigation of steroids in baseball (the only current player at the time to do so).

Anyways, He deserves to be in the Hall of fame, both because he didnt use steroids, and because he hit over 500 Home Runs. Obviously should retire as a White Stocking after 15 years with the team.

There were never concerns over Frank Thomas juicing. Him and the White Sox purposely failed the test by not taking it so MLB would implement drug testing in baseball. He wanted to fly to congress when they had that hearing with all of the players Palmero, Sosa, Clemens and McGwire. But he couldnt go due to his recent surgery and not allowing him to fly but he was their via video conference.

bagwell368
06-26-2012, 01:52 PM
Yes he will be first ballot you can guaran-damn-tee that!

Riddle me this. The HOF is for players - not just hitters (Ted made that one). As a player Bagwell was better then FT - by a clear to see margin - yet here he is - with two failed attempts to get into the HOF.


Yes he is a top 5 1B hitting wise all time and is probably the best right handed hitter of all time.

I don't care about RH vs LH vs SH - but for a RHH?

Wagner, Mays, and Aaron beg a place in the competition.

Pierzynski4Prez
06-26-2012, 02:35 PM
Riddle me this. The HOF is for players - not just hitters (Ted made that one). As a player Bagwell was better then FT - by a clear to see margin - yet here he is - with two failed attempts to get into the HOF.


Perhaps the thing holding Bags down is that he doesn't have the #'s in any 1 category that some think is a requirement for hitters to get into the HOF. Such as 3000 hits or 500 HR's where as Frank obviously has the 500+ HR's. Frank also has 2 MVP's (should be 3) to Bag's 1, along with 6 Top 5 finishes to Bags 3.

Jeffy25
06-26-2012, 03:31 PM
The only thing that is going to hurt Thomas from being a first ballot is the DH stigma. Which is stupid, it's a god damn position on the baseball diamond, you can't penalize a player for playing it.

I think voters will like Thomas' 500 home runs over whatever they are choosing to hold Bagwell back.

I do question his first ballot entry based on the voters, but he clearly deserves it.


I would say, if you don't think of Frank Thomas as a top 35 player of all time, and a top 20 hitter of all time. Then he is under-appreciated, because that is where he belongs.

bagwell368
06-26-2012, 05:45 PM
Perhaps the thing holding Bags down is that he doesn't have the #'s in any 1 category that some think is a requirement for hitters to get into the HOF. Such as 3000 hits or 500 HR's where as Frank obviously has the 500+ HR's. Frank also has 2 MVP's (should be 3) to Bag's 1, along with 6 Top 5 finishes to Bags 3.

Bags also had to contend in the NL w/ Bonds and Pujols - hitters of a quality not available in the AL for most of Frank's run - which is one reason I don't put credence in MVP voting in many cases.

Bagwell was a true 5 tool player (he could throw when he was young), FT was a two tool player, that and losing a lot of HR's to the Dome ought to wake most voters up to the fact Bagwell > Thomas.

Jeffy25
06-26-2012, 05:51 PM
Bagwell career

.297/.408/.540 - .406 wOBA, 149 wRC+, 83.9 fWAR, 76.7 rWAR, 1761 RC 9431 PA, 75.9 oWAR

Thomas career

.301/.419/.555 - .416 wOBA, 154 wRC+, 76.2 fWAR, 69.7 rWAR, 1949 RC, 10074 PA, 71.6 oWAR


Thomas was clearly the better hitter, ballpark adjusted too. Bagwell was the better all around player, but Thomas out hit Bagwell.

JDIsMyGod23
06-26-2012, 06:08 PM
I play this game with my dad where we made career number cards for everyone, and it's really amazing how good Frank and Bagwell are historically.

Twitchy
06-26-2012, 06:21 PM
Fun fact:

Albert Pujols from age 21-32 = 325/416/609, 168 OPS+
Frank Thomas from age 22-32 = 321/440/579, 169 OPS+

Frank Thomas is a monster.

WadeKobe
06-26-2012, 06:53 PM
Fun fact:

Albert Pujols from age 21-32 = 325/416/609, 168 OPS+
Frank Thomas from age 22-32 = 321/440/579, 169 OPS+

Frank Thomas is a monster.

Like I said earlier...


Another perspective...

For their first 9 seasons....

Frank Thomas outperformed Pujols in the following categories...

wOBA
wRC+
OPS+
OBP

That is some incredible production, to outproduce Pujols over the first 9 years?

I wonder what his career would have looked like if injuries hadn't hit him. :(

bagwell368
06-26-2012, 08:11 PM
Bagwell career

.297/.408/.540 - .406 wOBA, 149 wRC+, 83.9 fWAR, 76.7 rWAR, 1761 RC 9431 PA, 75.9 oWAR

Thomas career

.301/.419/.555 - .416 wOBA, 154 wRC+, 76.2 fWAR, 69.7 rWAR, 1949 RC, 10074 PA, 71.6 oWAR


Thomas was clearly the better hitter, ballpark adjusted too. Bagwell was the better all around player, but Thomas out hit Bagwell.

Yes, other posters agree - see post #21 and several other places I think. Thanks for the stats.