Home St. Louis Cardinals' AffiliatesMemphis Redbirds (AAA) Tommy Pham: The straw that stirs the drink for the Cardinals

Tommy Pham: The straw that stirs the drink for the Cardinals

by Joe McCampbell

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham has had his fair share of struggles with a degenerative eye condition known as keratoconus. These issues have been well-documented, as he’s been a consistent member of the Cardinals outfield since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis on May 5.

In spite of his oft troublesome eye condition, Pham sees the second half of the Cardinals season playing out more clearly. That is, if he’s on the field. Pham’s season didn’t begin in a way that would indicate his current success.

Pham was sent down at the start of the season as the Cardinals chose to keep Jose Martinez on the major league roster after he enjoyed a hot spring training. Martinez subsequently went on the disabled list and Pham both literally and figuratively stepped up to the plate. He hasn’t relinquished his spot in the lineup ever since.

Since returning to the majors in May, Pham is batting .299 (61-204) with 11 homeruns, 11 stolen bases and 34 RBIs.

What Pham’s statistics would look like had he been a regular contributor since the start of the season are unknown, but one well-known fact is that the Cardinals outfield is crowded. In addition to Pham, Dexter Fowler, Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk are all vying for three outfield spots.

Finding consistency in the outfield is important defensively, as well as for continuity in the lineup every day.

What the Cardinals choose to do is up for debate, but if I were a betting man, I’d venture to guess they’ll go with an outfield consisting of Fowler, Piscotty, and Pham. This is purely speculation, but there are a few reasons for this line of thinking. Pham has been hot both offensively and defensively, Piscotty and Fowler are signed to big money contracts and Grichuk, while doing better since his return from his trip to the minors to correct his plate discipline, hasn’t stood out over Pham.

With the pop he brings with his bat, Grichuk could be a key bench player to pinch hit late in games and even stay in the game for defensive purposes.

All four could play a major role down the stretch for the Cardinals, but Pham has a clear eye view of his role going forward and you’d be blind not to see that.

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