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Cardinals rookie Tommy Pham: unusual high-upside 27 year old rookie

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Tommy Pham
Tommy Pham
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St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham is a 27-year old rookie just getting his feet wet in the majors. Normally 27-year-old rookie hitters are marginal prospects: low-upside utility infielders, defense-oriented emergency catchers, slow sluggers with weak gloves, that sort of thing.

Tommy Pham is not like that. This guy is an athlete with power and speed and a good track record of performance in the upper minors, including a .327/.398/.516 mark with 16 homers and 26 steals in 28 attempts over this last 128 games for Triple-A Memphis.

Pham was originally a 16th round pick back in 2006 from high school in Las Vegas. His trek through the farm system has been very slow. He had significant issues with the strike zone and contact early in his career. That improved over time and when healthy he has been very effective against high-level minor league pitching, including a .296/.381/.504 mark in Double-A and the aforementioned Triple-A run.

The problem is the "staying healthy" thing. Pham has a very long list of injuries on his resume and has never played more than 114 games in a single season. When he does get on the field, his athleticism stands out: quick-twitch, electric, however you want to call it, you can't miss it. His athleticism and power/speed combo are highly impressive and the numbers are there too.

He may never be durable enough to play regularly, but Pham's combination of tools and skills makes him much more interesting than the typical rookie in his age cohort.