MLB

StaTuesday: The record-breaking month for Brewers Thames

As any fan of the Milwaukee Brewers knows, Eric Thames had an incredible April.

Safe to say Thames was the biggest mystery on the Brewers coming into the season and also the biggest surprise. Thames finished the month with a slash line of .345/.466/.810, setting franchise records for home runs (11) and runs (28) in April.

Only two other player had hit 10 home runs in March/April in Brewers history -- Carlos Lee in 2006 and Ryan Braun in 2011, both with 10 (by the way, Lee would finish with 37 homers and Braun 33).

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Thames is just one of 14 Brewers players to hit 10 or more home runs in any month during a season. Prince Fielder had 13 in May 2007 while four players had 12: Gorman Thomas (August 1979), Greg Vaughn (June 1996), Jeromy Burnitz (June 1999) and Richie Sexson (September/October 2001).

It wasn't just home runs for Thames in April. As mentioned, he had 28 runs, which is tied for the eighth most in any month in Brewers history. However, Thames had the fewest plate appearances (103) of any player who had 28 or more runs in a month. In fact, the next closest was 18 away. Thames averaged a run roughly every 3.6 plate appearances. So if he was able to get a few more times at bat .

Player Month/Yr Games PA Runs
Paul Molitor Sept/Oct 1987 32 151 36
Paul Molitor July 1983 28 136 33
Paul Molitor Sept/Oct 1982 32 150 32
Jim Gantner July 1983 28 125 31
Paul Molitor August 1991 29 145 31
Robin Yount July 1982 27 122 30
Rickie Weeks Sept/Oct 2007 28 127 29
Robin Yount June 1982 27 130 28
Robin Yount Sept/Oct 1982 32 146 28
Eric Thames April 2017 24 103 28
Corey Hart June 2007 26 126 28
Robin Yount May 1980 27 121 28

Thames also got on base nearly half the time in April, with his .466 on-base percentage. That ranks 11th in franchise history (including the Seattle Pilots).

Player Month/Yr Games PA OBP
Ryan Braun August 2010 26 113 .496
Gerardo Parra July 2015 24 97 .495
Prince Fielder June 2011 27 110 .491
Mark Loretta June 1997 27 110 .482
Paul Molitor August 1987 29 142 .479
Prince Fielder Sept/Oct 2007 27 115 .478
Paul Molitor Sept/Oct 1989 26 114 .474
Dave Nilsson July 1996 25 108 .472
Paul Molitor May 1980 27 129 .469
Tommy Harper May 1969 26 124 .468
Eric Thames April 2017 24 103 .466

But all this being said, it is Thames' power which drew him the most attention.

Thames had an .810 slugging percentage in April -- that's the best for a Brewers player in any month, ever. Only six players have slugged .750 or greater in a month for the Brewers (min. 100 plate appearances).

Player Month/Yr Games PA SLG%
Eric Thames April 2017 24 103 .810
Greg Vaughn June 1996 26 113 .787
Prince Fielder May 2007 29 121 .755
Mike Cameron August 2008 25 105 .753
Ryan Braun July 2008 25 112 .752
Gorman Thomas June 1982 26 113 .750

From a major-league perspective, Thames is one of 25 players in history to hit 11 or more home runs in April, including Washington's Ryan Zimmerman this season. Of the remaining 23, 19 of those hit 30 or more home runs on the season.

Player Year PA HR Final HR
Alex Rodriguez 2007 106 14 54
Albert Pujols 2006 110 14 49
Luis Gonzalez 2001 109 13 57
Ken Griffey Jr. 1997 119 13 56
Matt Kemp 2012 98 12 23
Justin Upton 2013 112 12 27
Mike Schmidt 1976 66 11 38
Willie Stargell 1971 83 11 48
Barry Bonds 2001 91 11 73
Paul Konerko 2010 92 11 39
Graig Nettles 1973 94 11 22
Ryan Zimmerman 2017 96 11 n/a
Larry Walker 2001 101 11 38
Larry Walker 1997 101 11 49
Eric Thames 2017 103 11 n/a
Jonny Gomes 2006 106 11 20
Jermaine Dye 2000 111 11 33
Mark McGwire 1997 112 11 58
Gary Sheffield 1996 112 11 42
Barry Bonds 1996 116 11 42
Mark McGwire 1998 117 11 70
Vinny Castilla 1998 122 11 46
Ken Griffey Jr. 1998 123 11 56
Brady Anderson 1996 124 11 50
Chase Utley 2008 128 11 33

Thanes hit eight of his April home runs against the Cincinnati Reds. That's the most a Brewers player hs ever hit against the Reds in any season (Fielder and Ryan Braun each had seven). Only George Scott with nine against Detroit in 1975 has more homers against one team over one season (Fielder had eight vs. the Cubs in 2010 and Vaughn with eight against Kansas City in 1996).

But Thames' eight home runs against one team in a month put him in even more exclusive company. He joined eight other players to accomplish that feat in major-league history.

Twice it happened in 1971: Willie Stargell against the Atlanta Braves in April and Deron Johnson against the Montreal Expos in July.

The only other time? Babe Ruth against the Philadelphia A's in May 1930.

When you can get yourself mentioned in a sentence with Ruth yeah, it was a good month.

Dave Heller is the author of the new book Ken Williams: A Slugger in Ruth's Shadow as well as Facing Ted Williams Players From the Golden Age of Baseball Recall the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived and As Good As It Got: The 1944 St. Louis Browns