Pham up Phat down

In 2015 the Cardinals had some amazing rookies. 2 of them, Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty, were all but named the future of the franchise.
But neither of them led rookies on the team in velocity off the bat. Did you know that? I mean that’s what Grichuk in particular is known for. Grichuk HITS THE BALL REALLY HARD (when he hits it). It is the top piece of evidence for saying that Grichuk might be a star.

But Grichuk didn’t even lead ROOKIES on the Cardinals in exit velocity.

No, that was Tommy Pham.

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That’s because Tommy Pham can hit.

In 173 disjointed plate appearances between being dicked around by Matheny’s absurd dedication to an injured Jon Jay, and the team’s baffling decision to abandon and cast him to AAA after he wasn’t a great player in his first 49 plate appearances in the Majors, Pham’s talent was still undeniable. Upon his recall to the majors he put up the following line.

.303/.379/.532/.911

He did this while putting up bRef dWar of 0.3 in limited field time. Prorate it to a full season, and dear lord, what a player.

Pham is 28. This is his prime. He may never get better (he doesn’t have to). He may never be a superstar. But hot damn, is he just incredibly valuable as is.

Yeah, he gets hurt. A lot. I don’t know if that’s the curse of Tommy Pham, or if this is a series of unfortunate circumstances, but here is what I do know:

If Tommy Pham can only play 10 games this season, then those 10 games need to be at the MLB level. Playing in AAA isn’t going to teach his body to not get hurt.

This isn’t to mention that this team NEEDS another good right handed bat. I hope I don’t need to go into any analysis for what happens to the Cardinals when any left handed Ned Flanders is on the mound.

And who do you send down? You send down damn superfluous Matt Adams.

(Yes, Tejada needs to go and Garcia needs to replace him, that’s a middle infield thing, this is a 1B/OF thing)

Matt Adams is less than one year younger than Pham, so if Pham’s future isn’t bright because of age, Adams ain’t far behind.

The Cardinals have had 4 people (Non-Molina edition) start at 1B this year, and another (Piscotty) who spent time there last year.

Here are their OPSs this year:
.909
.875
.825
.791
.757
Guess who is in last.

Here are their OPSs last year:
.871
.853
.804
.711
.657
Guess who is in last.

Here is their Career OPS totals:
.903
.861
.833
.772
.766
Guess who is in last.

And remember, this is Matt Adams’ BEST skill. Boy can he hit that ball!
His OPS+ is 100 so far. That means that Matt Adams has been a LEAGUE AVERAGE HITTER! WOO!

That’s awesome, and extremely valuable for a team trying to scratch and claw every win to get to the playoffs, I mean provided Mike Matheny bats 7th, and Matt Adams starts playing a decent 2B.

He’s a 1B on a team trying to be playoff caliber. League average isn’t going to do it at 1B folks.

Understanding league average being bad, well…

There are 36 1B in baseball with as many Plate Appearances as Matt Adams. He ranks:
29 in WAR, 20th in wOBA, 23rd in ISO (THE THING HE IS SUPPOSED TO BE GOOD AT), and 33rd in BB%

But he is 5th in BABIP! Meaning he’s actually be lucky this year. Sigh.
He’s hurting the team.

Hurting the team??? How could I say that???

Fangraphs –
WAR -0.1
Base Running -0.5
Offense -0.4
Defense -2.8

My favorite part? What does Fangraphs say his salary value has been to the team this year?

NEGATIVE $600,000.00

Maybe the reason they want to keep him around is because he’s paying them to be here.

Yeah, but you believe your old crotchety eyes when they tell you he is really good. He’s not. He’s better than you’d THINK he should be, but he’s basically a snapping turtle at 1B. He can get to anything hit within 9 inches of him at breakneck speed, but beyond that, doomed.

According to Inside Edge Fielding Matt Adams has had 8 plays that weren’t routine (90%+ chance of making). He made 2 of them.

In his career he has NEVER had a defensive rating of average or better.

Your eyes are lying to you.

Where they aren’t lying to you is with his body type. He’s a big boy. And big boys do not age well. So what on Earth are we investing in here? Because it ain’t the future, and it ain’t the present.

But Tommy Pham is the present, and he has a better chance of being the future. And this team is supposed to be going for a playoff spot. And there isn’t room for error. So what the Hell are they thinking? This should be a no-brainer.

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