The Brewers have played well since losing Eric Thames to a thumb injury in late April. They immediately lost four straight at Wrigley Field to the Cubs, but then took 21 of their subsequent 30 contests. Thames will begin his rehab assignment with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox Wednesday night:
Eric Thames will be heading to Class AAA Colorado Springs on Wednesday to continue his rehab. He will play some OF there as well, Craig Counsell says.— Todd Rosiak (@Todd_Rosiak) June 5, 2018
In Thames’ absence, Jesus Aguilar has played at an All-Star level at first base. Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich have played well in the outfield. Ryan Braun and Domingo Santana have been less impressive. But Thames’ start to the season was good, and it would seem logical that Milwaukee will want to find opportunities to get both Aguilar and Thames in the lineup. Hence the games in the outfield for Eric.
In Thames’ 22 games played, he had seven homers in 74 plate appearances, with an OPS of .976 and an OPS+ of 157. Ryan Braun has been playing about half the time since his return from his stint on the DL with back tightness, and his production levels are much worse than Thames’, with an OPS of .704 and and OPS+ of 88.
In addition, Braun has just six homers in his 171 plate appearances. His oWAR is at -0.1 and his dWAR at -0.2. Thames has an oWAR of 0.8 in less than half the plate appearances, and his dWAR is at -.02. He has yet to play in the outfield this season.
It remains to be seen how long of a rehab assignment Eric will need. He needs to build up strength in the thumb, so it could be longer than just a few games. A Thames without power isn’t nearly as valuable as a Thames with power.
Statistics courtesy of baseball.reference