|View single post by lobo316|
|Posted: Wed Apr 26th, 2017 02:50 am||
|The first month of the 2017 Major League Baseball campaign has been all about Eric Thames' rise to excellence, as the slugger - who spent the past three seasons dominating in Korea - has feasted on big-league pitching in his return.
That was no different Monday night, as the Milwaukee Brewers first baseman belted two more home runs against the Cincinnati Reds, giving him an MLB-leading 10 on the season, seven of which have come against Cincinnati.
With the pair of blasts, Thames became just the second player in history to hit seven home runs in April against one team, joining Willie Stargell, who hammered eight against the Atlanta Braves in 1971, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
And upon closer inspection, Thames' and Stargell's first months weren't only comparable because of that oddball stat. In fact, their April lines were quite similar.
Thames spoke with reporters after his game Monday and credited a lot of his success with relaxing, having fun, and not trying to do too much.
"When I was a prospect and (breaking into) the big leagues, I stressed out a lot. I drank a lot. I was just like, 'Oh my God, I have to hit a home run or I'm going back to Double-A and Triple-A," he explained to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy.
"Now, in Korea and here, I'm just like, 'OK, I'm going to do my job, I'm going to work as hard as I can, and when it's time for game time, just relax and let it all go.' It's amazing when stress levels decrease and you start to actually have fun and be loose and be able to react. It's crazy."
Thames still has six days left in April to potentially produce even more damage.
If Thames can replicate Stargell's 1971 campaign in full - the Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder was an All-Star, finished second in MVP voting, and led the NL in home runs with 48 - the Brewers will most certainly take it, and will look like geniuses after rolling the dice and signing him to a multiyear deal in the offseason.