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Tommy Pham Player Profile

Tommy Pham (TB – OF) – #2EarlyMocks ADP 78; NFBC ADP 62

After Tommy Pham was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays at the end of July of 2018, he was one of the best hitters in the league. In the second half, Pham hit .331 with a .433 OBP, eight homers and six steals, good for a wRC+ of 177! That was only in 50 games. Pham doesn’t get the notoriety he deserves because of a late break in the big leagues and a slow start to 2018. Even given that slow start, Pham carries an impressive 138 wRC+ the last two seasons which is tied for 16th among qualified hitters. He hits for average, hits home runs, steals bases, and takes walks. So, why isn’t he being drafted like a top 20 hitter? Players like Adalberto Mondesi, A.J. Pollock, and Eddie Rosario have gone ahead of Pham in the 2 Early Mocks but is gaining steam in the NFBC drafts. I’d take Pham over all three players just mentioned, and here’s why.

Starting with plate discipline because I love a player who commands the zone. His O-Swing (or chase rate), zone-contact, and swinging strike rate are all above league average. In fact, his O-Swing is nearly 8% lower than the league average, which is in the top 10% of all players. Pham doesn’t get beat by pitches outside the zone. Some might look at his 24.6% K rate, which is worse than the league average, and think he’s a bit of a free swinger. It’s the actually the contrary, Pham is patient and sees a ton of pitches putting him deep counts. The downside is a higher strikeout rate, the upside is an elevated walk rate. It also allows Pham to wait for his pitch which is verified in his 48.5% hard contact rate! The elevated walk rate allows Pham additional stolen base opportunities. It’s a trade-off Fam (Pham?)

Speaking of hard contact and batted quality, Pham does not discriminate when it comes to hitting the ball. He sprays balls to all fields. Let’s take a look at his hard-hit rate to all fields compared to the league average. 

Hard Hit Percentage by Batted Ball Direction

 Pull SideCenterOpposite Field
Tommy Pham46.7%52.8%43.8%
League Average39.5%37.3%25.9%

I challenge you to find a player with a similar quality of contact to all fields. I’m mostly kidding, I should just do the work myself but I’m feeling lazy. Just kidding, no one compares, I just checked. Christian Yelich and Shin-Soo Choo come close with hard contact to center and the opposite field but fall short when including the hard-hit pulled rate. What this does is allow Pham to avoid shifts and will result in an elevated BABIP. Pham’s batted ball distribution is very diverse as well hitting just over a third of his batted balls to both the pull side (37%)  to center (35%), and over 25% the other way. What also contributes to a higher BABIP is his high line drive rate and his foot speed. So, his .342 BABIP from 2018 doesn’t seem out of place, especially when you consider his career .351 BABIP!

Pham does possess a near-50% groundball rate which will limit his home run upside, but he’s average 23.5% HR/FB the last two seasons. Pham is not all that different than 2018 MVP Christian Yelich, he just hasn’t been as healthy. If you miss out on Yelich, don’t sweat it. Just wait five rounds and grab ya boy Pham! I’ve projected Pham for 23 homers and 17 steals but that’s in just 574 plate appearances. Therein lies the discount when it comes to Pham. I anticipate Pham’s ADP to drop in Yahoo, ESPN, and CBS leagues as we approach draft season in full force the next couple months. If I had to guess, Pham’s ADP settles in around 78 overall where he was drafted in the #2EarlyMocks. If he can stay healthy for 650 PA, I could see a 25/20 season with over 100 runs and a solid batting average.

via Gfycat

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