At first glance, Marcus Thames seemed to be miscast as Mark Teixeira’s replacement in the three hole during the team’s brief series in Texas. On a team full of All Stars, there seemed to be quite a few more worthy candidates, but Thames rewarded Joe Girardi’s confidence with five hits over the two games, including a key 8th inning home run and 9th inning RBI single in last night’s 7-6 comeback victory.
Despite playing a relatively minor role on the team (he has had only 133 PA to date), Thames has been no stranger to dramatic moments. In addition to yesterday’s game winning single, Thames has also been the author of two walk off hits, including a homerun against Jonathan Papelbon on May 17. Based on WPA, those three games have ranked among the top-25 most valuable individual performances by a Yankee this season. Only Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano have had more games within that framework, and each of those players has come to bat at least 300 times more. Even more incredibly, Thames ranks fifth in WPA for the entire season, ahead of such heralded stars like Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter.
When Brian Cashman acquired Marcus Thames during a busy offseason, it hardly raised an eyebrow. In retrospect, however, the signing has turned out to be Cashman’s best acquisition, which admittedly is damning with faint praise. Still, Thames’ contribution has been worthy of notice, and even more importantly, worthy of increased playing time.
Top-25 Most Valuable Contributions, by WPA
*Total only for games in the top-25.
Yankees WPA Leaders, 2010