Eric Thames provided some fireworks for the Brewers offense on the 4th of July, hitting his 22nd and 23rd home runs of the season in a 6-2 win.
Despite ranking third in the National League in home runs, Thames won’t be participating in the Home Run Derby during next week’s All-Star festivities in Miami. While he wasn’t named to the All-Star team, that doesn’t preclude a player from participating in the derby — this year, Marlins first baseman Justin Bour was announced as one of the participants even though he isn’t on the main All-Star roster (although he is a Final Vote candidate).
Considering Thames was one of baseball’s biggest stories in April and he’s stayed one of the league leaders in home runs despite a slump in May and June, it seems odd that he’s not being given the chance to flash his power in front of a national audience. You would think Major League Baseball would want the chance to give a newer star a chance to shine on that stage, especially one with a massive following in the growing Asian market of South Korea.
Of course, it was always possible Thames was asked and turned down the opportunity. Maybe he wanted to rest the legs that have been bothering him for a good part of the season.
Nope. It turns out that’s not the case. According to Thames himself, he was never even asked to participate.
Eric Thames said he was not invited to the Home Run Derby this year.— Carson Mason (@CarsonAnnMason) July 5, 2017
"If they did, they must have the wrong number," he joked.
The National League participants, as announced by MLB on Monday night: Colorado's Charlie Blackmon, LA's Cody Bellinger, and Miami's Giancarlo Stanton and Bour.
It’s hard to argue with the first three names on the list. Bellinger is a breakout star this year, and the NL’s answer to Aaron Judge. Blackmon is a darkhorse MVP candidate, leading baseball with 198 total bases thanks to 18 home runs, 17 doubles and 10 triples. Stanton should be invited to compete in every Home Run Derby for the rest of time because it’s fun to watch him kill baseballs.
It’s Bour that’s the questionable pick, given the fact that he’s nowhere near one of the biggest power threats at his own position, let alone in the league. It feels like he was picked to give the hometown Miami fans another person to root for, which — as our Travis Sarandos noted on Twitter — is a little ridiculous considering Marlins fans already have a dinger-hitting god to represent them in the contest.
MIAMI FAN: we've only got the greatest power hitter alive in the hr derby? forget it.— #420BLAZEK (@travis_mke) July 5, 2017
MIAMI FAN: oh justin bour too? okay now i'll watch
In the end, does this really matter? No. Not at all.
But in a year where the Brewers may end up going into the All-Star break in first place, it would be nice to see them get a little more recognition than having a relief pitcher as their only representative during the All-Star festivities.
Looks like we’ll have to just watch clips of him competing in Korean derbies instead.
Nice work, MLB.