After explaining the hip tightness which led to his early exit from yesterday’s victory, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham put out a call to the baseball world–it’s time he gets more respect.
The 29-year old didn’t hold back when asked how he looked at the second half with four outfielders and only three spots?
“I don’t know, what do you think my role should be?,” responded Pham. “I look at my numbers–this is a game that’s all about production. It’s all about numbers. I have 11 home runs. I have 11 stolen bases now. If I was up here all year, I’d probably be at 15/15 looking at an All-Star season. You know, my numbers aren’t far off from being an All-Star.
“I don’t think I’m getting enough credit for what I’ve done. I contribute in every aspect of the game–offensively, defensively, running the bases. There’s no negatives. If you look at guys in the league that can do that, there ain’t too many. Offensively speaking, I have like a top, maybe top 30 OPS. There’s not too many guys that do that. When you talk about numbers, I know what I bring to the table.
“I think I could be even better. A lot of guys don’t believe it, but there is room for improvement for me. I can improve on my plate discipline. I’m working on that more in the cage now. And I can improve on hitting more line drives. If I hit more line drives, that’s going to increase my power output because you know my line drives go a long ways.
“When I evaluate myself on my first half, there are a few areas of improvement. I’m trying to take what I’ve done offensively to a higher level. As far as running the bases, I could be a better base stealer. I don’t like my stolen base success rate right now, I always want to make sure I’m above 80% and right now I’m under 80. I’m going to improve that area. And I’m a guy that can score from first on a double.
“And defensively, I’m all about making more plays to help out the pitchers. The more plays I can make out there, the less chances they have to score runs. I’m trying to take my game to a completely elite level. I think it’s going, like a lot of people don’t believe in it, but I think I can only reach a higher level.”
After his three hits today, including a 2-run homer, Pham is batting .299 (61-204) with a .386 OBP and .895 OPS. As noted, he has 11 home runs and 11 stolen bases to go with 34 RBIs.
If he qualified for MLB rankings, his OPS would place him at 32nd. Pham’s on-base would be tied for 14th.
Pham is one of 14 players in MLB that have double digit home runs and stolen bases joining: Paul Goldschmidt (20/13), Mookie Betts (16/15), Will Meyers (16/10), JD Ramirez (16/10), Mike Trout (16/10), Brett Gardner (15/12), Keon Broxton (14/17), Jose Altuve (13/18), Brian Dozier (13/10), Chris Owings (12/11), Michael Taylor (12/10), Elvis Andrus (11/20), and Lorenzo Cain (11/15).
But Tommy Pham has collected all of his stats since being recalled on May 5th, not over a full first half of the season.
St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny recently shared the team would regroup regarding the outfield situation and positioning after the All-Star break, but did acknowledge that Pham’s play in centerfield could not be denied.
“I don’t know,” answered Pham if he felt Matheny and the front office recognized what he was doing. “I mean, I’m sure they know. They have their sabermetric people. They know and understand everything I’m doing. They’re well-educated on performance, so what I’ve done with them hasn’t gone unnoticed. But I think, like I said, when you look at what I’ve done there ain’t too many people doing what I’m doing in this league. And I think it’s going unnoticed. But the only thing I can do is keep on being consistent and keep going out there and put myself in the best chance to help the team win. Keep preparing the same way I’m doing it and find ways to grow as a baseball player.”
Healthy this season, Pham is finally being able to show what he can do and plays every inning with something to prove. To be the kind of elite player he striving to be, does it have to be in centerfield?
“No, Dex plays centerfield here,” stated Pham. “I know I’m capable of being an elite defensive outfielder regardless of what position I’m at. It’s just in centerfield you have more opportunities to make plays because more balls are hit to center. That’s just baseball. But I can be a plus defender wherever. I look at as I’m a centerfielder playing left field or right field, whatever the case may be.”
And if you’re looking for a possible rift between Pham and Fowler over this, there isn’t one. Pham’s from Las Vegas. Fowler just built a house there. The two get along very well.
“There’s no animosity towards me,” said Pham. “I think now teams, the baseball world is starting to see though that I’m capable of playing centerfield at an elite level, though.”
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports, Bill Greenblatt/UPI