2011 Cardinals Prospect #19 – Tommy Pham

Has the former shortstop-turned-centerfielder turned his career corner with a solid Springfield debut?

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to full 2010 and career stats)

2010 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
40 OF 3/8/1988 6-1 175 R R 2006 16th

School: Durango High School, Las Vegas, NV

Selected 2010 stats

PB 0.262 237 42 62 14 4 3 27 42 59 13 0.377 0.392 0.769
SPR 0.339 121 19 41 13 1 3 18 18 28 4 0.429 0.537 0.966
Total 0.288 358 61 103 27 5 6 45 60 87 17 0.394 0.441 0.835

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Dustin Mattison (11): Tommy Pham has been a favorite of mine on these lists since being brought into the system during the 2007 draft. Now it finally seems his enormous potential is turning into results on the field.

Pham was the big head turner during the spring of 2010, seemingly appearing in the Vuch Reports on a daily basis. He was solid yet unspectacular during his time at Palm Beach. It was after a promotion to Double-A Springfield that he showed his value. During 38 games, the 22-year-old hit .339/.429/.537. During August, he hit an astounding .391/.451/.717.

Pham was helped by a BABIP of .422 during his time in the Texas League but I would suspect his fine OPS to continue.

Pham has above average power and speed. He has a great glove and the ability to stay in center along with above average arm strength (he hit 92 MPH as a pitcher in high school). The only question has been his hit tool and with the ability he is beginning to show in controlling the strike zone, the sky appears to be the limit for the youngster.

If he can overcome the wrist fracture and vision problems that sidelined him 2010, Pham could definitely rank at the top of this list in 2011.

Message board community (19): Tommy Pham rose to 19th from 30th place last year. He was drafted young, so even though we've been talking about him since 2006, he won't turn 23 till March.

A toolsy player, it looks like something might have clicked last year. Pham posted a .377 OBP in 127 at-bats in his second stint in the Florida State League, up from .313 the year before. It's hard to show power in Florida, so perhaps his .392 SLG was a bit suppressed by the air.

Then Pham got the call to Springfield where he simply crushed the ball, posting a .429 OBP, .537 SLG in 121 at-bats. Most of the power came in the form of doubles, with 13. He was particularly effective vs. lefties, posting a 1.134 OPS against them in 53 Double-A at-bats, compared to a .829 vs. righties. Pham plays centerfield and can run a bit, having stolen either 17 or 18 bases each of the last four years. With Colby Rasmus batting lefty in St. Louis, at a minimum Pham has a good shot at being the righty backup for center field in the majors before too long. - Gagliano

Brian Walton (26): Up from our number 40 last year all the way to 19 is an indication of the rise of Pham's prospect star. In past years as currently, I have been harder than others in Pham's ranking. Because he was originally bonused like a third-round pick, those are the expectations he has carried with me.

One thing that cannot be debated – when Pham gets hot, he hits very well. As noted above, his spring training camp was a prime example, yet he didn't carry it into April. So perhaps was his Double-A introduction a spike. I am just not ready to proclaim Pham has arrived based on just 38 games to close the season.

Further, the last definitive news we received about Pham's health was that he was considering eye surgery that would address his blurred vision. It is associated with keratoconus, a non-inflammatory eye condition which he has had since 2008. Maybe this can be turned around, but maybe not.

Either way, it is all about results. I continue to wait for Pham to demonstrate more success than in just short bursts. Even with his solid 2010, his career OPS still hasn't climbed above .700. In its entirety, Pham's career body of work leaves him short of top 20 status, in my view.

Our 2011 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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