TCN 2014 Cardinals Prospect #23: Tommy Pham

Slowed again by injuries, will the outfielder finally show his stuff over an entire season in 2014?

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2013 and career stats)

2013 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NR OF 3/8/1988 6-1 175 R R 2006 16th

School: Durango High School, Las Vegas, Nevada

Selected 2013 stats

Spr 0.301 0.371 163 27 49 6 6 28 20 42 6 0.400 0.388 0.521 0.910
Mem 0.264 0.338 106 6 28 6 1 13 7 25 2 0.307 0.310 0.368 0.678
Total 0.286   269 33 77 12 7 41 27 67 8   0.359 0.461 0.820

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (22): Unranked by the community last year, Tommy Pham was voted by the community at number 22 one year later.

We all know about Pham's tremendous athletic abilities and potential but 2013 was perhaps his make or break year to prove his health. Pham was initially up to the task with a strong start to the campaign before he went down with another season-ending shoulder injury. He performed well enough to finally get out of Springfield with a promotion to Memphis.

I have always been a Pham fan not just because of the tools, but when he was actually on the field, he was a pretty consistent performer. With one-year remaining on his minor league contract, the big-league club has a big vacancy for right-handed outfielders who can handle center.

But with Mike O'Neill already on the 40-man, he would likely be the first outfielder up in case of an injury to one of the major-league outfielders. Therefore, Pham may not get his shot in the big-leagues with the Cardinals. Especially with a loaded Memphis outfield of Joey Butler, James Ramsey, Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk projected to see time there, even playing time will be sparse.- DTFlush234

Brian Walton (26): As long as we have done these rankings, I cannot recall a player with such wild swings. Pham has been on our top 40 five times since 2007, but was left off three other times. Two years ago, he was ranked 23rd, then was completely off the screen last winter - only to fight his way back on again – then suffers yet another serious injury.

Over the years, when discussing Pham, we have just about worn out the word "if". While its use is common to characterize uncertainty in any prospect's road ahead, in this case, it was especially appropriate.

No one can dispute Pham's athleticism and raw tools. For several years, he has been called the best outfielder in the system. As noted, the Cardinals showed faith in Pham by signing him up for two years last spring rather than risking losing him this off-season. Yet, his time may be about up. During spring training, Tommy will celebrate his 26th birthday.

Time has cluttered the once-clearer landscape. His inability to stay on the field, the ascension of multiple outfield prospects plus two new contenders coming in from the outside (Butler and Grichuk) add up to potential trouble.

Pham will have to get out of the gates quickly again in 2014, produce and stay healthy to earn and keep playing time. The alternative is that we may see what was once a very promising career in this system reach its end.

My personal placement of Pham at number 26, ahead of O'Neill, indicates that I still believe that Tommy has the upside in him.

Our 2014 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

© 2013 The Cardinal Nation, and All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories