There are a lot of big-name hitters in the Cardinals lineup. Tommy Pham is not one of them. But Pham, shockingly, has been the team’s best offensive story through the first 75 games.
Pham was all over the box score in Monday’s romp over Cincinnati. Taking a temporary spin in the leadoff spot (Matt Carpenter had the day off), Pham reached base four times, scored three runs, knocked in one, stole a base. He’s at .281/.371/.488 for the season, with nine homers and seven bags over 160 at-bats.
Pham and Jedd Gyorko are tied for the team lead in offensive fWAR, 9.2. And keep in mind Pham has played 20 fewer games than Gyorko. Pham’s walking a solid 11.3 percent of the time, and a 25.3 strikeout rate isn’t a prohibitive minus in today’s game.
Pham’s .340 BABIP might be a little out of his range, but he does have a better-than-average line-drive rate, and he’s always run well. There’s some luck here, but he’s making some of that luck, too.
Playing time could get hairy down the road. Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk are bigger names than Pham, though Pham has outplayed them this year. Grichuk even went down to the minors briefly, though he’s homered in the last two games. Dexter Fowler is a staple when healthy, but right now he’s dinged up — a heel injury pushed him to the DL on Sunday.
At the end of the day, fantasy is a game about numbers, not names. I’m going to keep rolling along with Pham until the Cardinals stop putting his name in the lineup. Possession of the job is a major part of the fantasy racket; bet on the guy with the baton. If you want to jump onto the bandwagon — okay, it’s more of a golf cart at the moment — Pham is available in a whopping 93 percent of Yahoo leagues.
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