Cardinals’ outfielder Tommy Pham off to terrific Spring Training start


If there is any one player on the St. Louis Cardinals’ 40-man roster who wants to prove he is ready for a major league promotion, outfielder Tommy Pham is certainly making a strong case to be that player. Celebrating his 27th birthday on Sunday, Pham has impressed with a .545 batting average, one home run and three RBIs in his first four Spring Training games of the season.

Pham spent nine seasons in the Cardinals’ minor league system before earning a September call-up last year. The 2006 draftee has shown prowess in many different aspects of the game, but has specifically made a name for himself with improved offensive abilities in recent years.

The outfielder’s career has arguably progressed slowly, as Pham overcame several obstacles in the minor leagues from wrist and shoulder injuries to competition in crowded outfields. While Peter BourjosRandal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty may provide more upside as potential bench outfielders for the Cardinals in 2015, Pham is certainly not making it easy for any of the three to earn an Opening Day roster nod with his recent surge. 

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From an offensive standpoint, Pham has improved his season batting average in each of his last two years in the Cardinals farm system, despite posting a career mark of .253 in the minors. The outfielder strung together the Cardinals’ first four-hit effort in a Spring Training game since 2013 on Friday, while delivering the go-ahead home run against Adam Conley in the Cardinals’ 5-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Sunday.

When Pham received a call-up last year, he mainly served the Cardinals as a defensive or running specialist in later innings. Improving these skills may allow him to play an integral role later in the season, as Pham could show his experience after swiping 20 bases and compiling a .985 fielding percentage with Memphis last year.

Even though there is a strong possibility that Tommy Pham will begin this season with the Memphis Redbirds once again, his best chance of making a strong impression at the big league level will likely come this year. It will be interesting to see if the outfielder can translate his recent progress from Spring Training into a successful formula if the Cardinals grant him a promotion during the regular season.