Exit Interview: Tommy Pham

For the fourth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season.  Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series.  All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis.   Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.

Player: Tommy Pham

Season stats: 52 games, 173 PA, 28 R, 7 2B, 5 3B, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 2 SB, 19 BB, 41 K, .268/.347/.477, 122 OPS+, 1.5 bWAR

Hero/Goat: Hero 7, Goat 2

Overall grade: A

Positives: Finally, after years of injuries, got a chance to show what he could do with an extended shot at the big leagues….was second on the team in triples in significantly less at bats than the leader Randal Grichuk….had three home runs in as many at bats, spread over three games (one of which he didn’t play in)….hit .297 on the road and four of his five homers were away from Busch….hit .303 with four home runs in September….hit .417 with a 1.617 OPS when he was seventh in the lineup….hit .373 when there was nobody out in the inning….hit .306 with two homers in high-leverage situations.

Negatives: Dealt with yet another injury in spring training, an injury that kept him off the field most of the first half….hit .071/.316/.071 with two outs and runners in scoring position….struggled in general with runners on, hitting .235….hit only .122 with two outs in an inning….struggled at Busch, hitting only .226….hit .182 in July during his first callup…batted .148 in the leadoff slot.

Overview: Pham, along with Stephen Piscotty, brought a breath of fresh air to the second half of the season.  The team seemed to be wearing down, but the rookies came in and made sure that there was a little bit of energy still floating around.  17 extra base hits in 150 or so at bats was a huge boost to an offense that was struggling.  Pham’s always been one of those guys that has seemed to have the talent, but just couldn’t stay healthy enough to show it off.  Now 27, he seems to be in a spot where he can take advantage of opportunities that come his way.

Of course, he had some trouble finding those opportunities.  Everyone railed against Jon Jay playing over Pham down the stretch, but I think the most telling fact about his status in the organization is not only did Pham make the postseason roster as well as Jay, he got more ABs in the NLDS and they were more significant ones as well.  There seems little doubt that he’s made an impact on the front office.

Outlook: The problem is, of course, that there’s a crowded outfield no matter how you slice it.  Even if Jason Heyward doesn’t return, you still have Matt Holliday, Grichuk, and Piscotty out there.  Still, there should be enough time for a fourth outfielder like Pham to get some playing time there, especially with Holliday’s age and recent injury history.  If Heyward returns, though, Pham may not get as much playing time as many fans would like, with no obvious solution save a trade.

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