TholeOn Thursday, while Mets fans and Americans across the country were watching lousy NFL football and eating delicious food, Josh Thole was in Venezuela, doing the same thing he's been doing for going on two years now: hitting.? The 23-year old Thole was 2-5 on Thanksgiving with a pair of doubles, giving him doubles in three straight games*.? He homered on Friday and had three more hits Saturday to briefly push his batting average over .400.? An 0-4 Sunday dropped Thole down to .391/.488/.571 133 AB over 39 games.
He leads the VWL in AVG and OBP, is second in doubles, is fifth in slugging and is the second toughest player to strikeout in the league. As a whole, its an offense friendly league which is hitting .287/.364/.428, but Thole is just raking down there.? Thole owns 13 2B, 1 3B, and 3 HR and 24 walks against 13 strikeouts.? Just think about this: he has more extra-base hits than strikeouts.
Reviews of Thole's defense this summer were not good, but the results appear better this winter.? He's been tested in Venezuela, where opponents' 38 stolen base attempts are the most against any catcher.? Thole has thrown out 11 runners, a 29%.? By contrast, the rocket-armed Henry Blanco, has nailed 62% (16 of 26) would-be basestealers. In terms of receiving, Thole has not been charged with a single passed ball.? Also, Caracas' pitching staff has been charged with 23 wild pitches, the second-fewest in the league, but this is a staff with good control; it also leads the league in fewest walks.