St. Louis Cardinals: Tommy Pham, Phamtastic or Fizzle?


The oft-injured center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals has flashes of brilliance while other times has fleeting mediocrity and yet remains a valuable portion of the 2016 squad.  Or does he?

The St. Louis Cardinals in recent years has been a squad quite devoid of speed.  The likes of Charlie Tilson in 2016 and Peter Bourjos in previous years were introduced to remedy this absence.  With the departure of Bourjos and the 2016 departure of Tilson, some of the Cardinals speed remaining is housed in Tommy Pham.

Before we go any farther into this spotlight, let me remind you that my cousin (who I talk about much) refers to Pham as being made of glass since he is so often injured.  To add insult to injury, my father cannot stand Pham and often makes groaning noises whenever he reads that Pham is in the starting lineup.

These statements are not issued here as indictments nor are they issued to reflect my opinion of Pham.   I will get to that, I promise.

Before any indictment is laid, let’s look at the numbers.  Pham’s St. Louis Cardinals career extends as far back as 2009 with the Palm Beach Cardinals.  Since 2010, Pham has experienced nine trips to the disabled list through his climb to the majors.  He broke the major league roster in actual play in September of 2014.

Pham appeared in 52 games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015 in which he posted a slash line of .268/.347/.477.  While not great, not bad either.  In the field in 2015, Pham appeared in games in all three outfield spots recording a 1.000 fielding percentage at all three spots.

In 2016, to date, Pham has appeared forty-nine games as he has again bounced between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Memphis Redbirds (some with the AA team as well).  With Memphis in 2016, Pham posted a slash line of .236/.344/.382 in thirty-three games.

In forty-nine games with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pham has posted a slash line of .256/.350/.528.  In these games he has appeared in again at all three outfield spots and owns percentages of 1.000 in each.

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What is missing from all of this is what appears to be a lack of hustle.  This is why my father doesn’t like him.  I argue the contrary: what appears as lack of hustle might be more conservative play than actual lack of hustle.  The conservative piece is due to him being made of glass as my cousin puts it.

Putting the intangible aside, in his last fifteen games, Pham has appeared in 36 at-bats in which he has recorded eleven hits, three home runs, and seven RBI.  This accounts for a slash line in these last fifteen games of .306/.444/.611.  That isn’t something to scoff at or discount.

Fast-forward a bit to the news of today that the St. Louis Cardinals are no longer interested in Carlos Gomez and with the relative resurgence of Pham and others like Randal Grichuk it isn’t difficult to see why or how the team would no longer have such interest.

Next: Moss X-Factor

All aside, I really want Pham to be better.  I believe he can be better and find myself daily hoping for lightening to strike and for him to remain the Phamtastic player that I believe he can be instead of the fizzle that too often appears.  Stay tuned for more spot light articles.