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St. Louis Cardinals: Tommy Pham Has Achieved Stardom

Tommy Pham's future is in question.

Tommy Pham has quickly emerged as a fan favorite for the St. Louis Cardinals. Between his great interviews, a never satisfied attitude, and great play on the field, there’s a lot to like. As the team limps toward the trading deadline currently in 4th place, it’s hard to imagine where they’d be without him.

After getting beat out for the 4th outfielder spot in spring training by Jose Martinez, Pham has seemingly been playing with an edge that isn’t readily apparent with the rest of the team. In his 264 plate appearances he has put up the best offensive numbers on the club.

This season Pham is slashing .306/.390/.515 with a 138 wRC+. Among players with a minimum of 250 plate appearances his 138 wRC+ ranks 28th in all of baseball. He is tied with Charlie Blackmon and Miguel Sano while also being ahead of guys like Nolan Arenado, Andrew McCutchen and Anthony Rizzo. That’s some pretty good company to be in.

Pham finally has a full seasons worth of plate appearances.

Pham now has 622 plate appearances in the big leagues which is a pretty normal amount for a full season. To sort of gauge how dynamic of a player he has been I decided to look at his stats compared to the 2016 leaderboards.

In his 622 plate appearances Pham has racked up 26 home runs and 17 stolen bases. He’s slashed .271/.357/.481 with a .359 wOBA and a 124 wRC+. To go along with all of that, he is at an impressive 4.3 fWAR.

When comparing Pham’s stats to the 2016 outfielders his .838 OPS would have landed him 14th overall. One spot behind current Cardinals center fielder Dexter Fowler and ahead of Starling Marte, George Springer, and Bryce Harper.

Looking at his weighted on-base average(wOBA) of .359 he would have ranked 13th among outfielders. And his 124 wRC+ would tie him with Ben Zobrist, George Springer, and Carlos Beltran for 11th best among outfielders.

His offense clearly stacks up pretty well among outfielders as he would have been in the top 15 in most stats. However, his overall game stacks up really well too.

When looking at his fWAR I checked out both, where he would rank among outfielders and also, where he would rank overall. Among outfielders a 4.3 fWAR would have ranked him 10th. One spot behind rumored trade target Christian Yelich and one spot ahead of slugger Nelson Cruz. Overall his fWAR would check in at #40, sandwiched between the same two outfielders.

I also looked into where he ranks on the base paths using the Fangraphs base running stat called BsR. Pham’s BsR for his career is 7.4. This checks out really well for him as he would have been 5th in all of baseball last season in the metric.

What does this mean going forward?

Pham is already at 2.7 fWAR for this season. He is well on his way toward being a top 20 overall player for the year and that’s after spending all of April in the minor leagues.

The knock on Tommy Pham has never been a lack of talent. His issues have always been either injury or vision related. I think what we’ve seen though, is that when Pham is both healthy and seeing well, he is without a doubt an elite player.

While I still believe that the Cardinals need to find a way to add an impact bat, we shouldn’t overlook what Pham is currently doing to fill that void.

Thanks for reading!

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