IS THERE A PLAYER MORE INTEGRAL TO HIS TEAM'S OFFENSE
THAN OAKLAND DH FRANK THOMAS? While the 38-year-old Big Hurt was hitting only
.265 at week's end and was bothered earlier this season by a quadriceps injury,
his 26 home runs and .386 on-base percentage were critical to a team that
ranked second to last in the American League in runs scored (4.5 per game).
According to Baseball Prospectus's Value Over Replacement Player (VORP)
rankings-which compare the runs a major leaguer has created with the runs a
waiver-wire or Triple A-caliber player at the same position would
produce-Thomas contributed 26.5 more runs than a replacement-level DH would
have, ranking him 64th in the majors but well ahead of every other A's player.
Excluding the 13 players who had a negative VORP, Oakland hitters combined for
a VORP of only 69.6 runs. That means Thomas's contribution (38.1%) was the
highest percentage in the majors, exceeding that of the Astros' Lance Berkman
(36.1%), the Orioles' Miguel Tejada (33.8%), the Marlins' Miguel Cabrera
(31.9%) and the Cardinals' Albert Pujols (31.6%).
? More from Tom Verducci and Baseball Prospectus at