Baseball is a funny game. One day, you’re battling a seven-game hitless streak and the next you can do no wrong and have a batting average just a tick shy of .300. Folks, that’s been the spring training experience for Padres outfielder Tommy Pham this year.
With two more hits on Monday, Pham is now batting .297 on the spring. Just a week ago, I was talking about how Friars fans were rightfully concerned with the play of the veteran. But now, he’s looking like a guy ready to defy the odds and overcome a poor showing in 2020 as he heads into a contract year.
Pham holds a great deal of importance for this Padres ball club. Thankfully, fellow potential leadoff man and outfielder Trent Grisham looks like he could be back on the field prior to Opening Day. But with him sidelined and Pham struggling earlier this spring, there were some legitimate concerns when it comes to the Padres’ outfield depth.
The 30-year-old is looking to turn in a very different type of season in 2021 after really struggling during the pandemic-shortened campaign a year ago. In his first go-round with San Diego, he managed just a .624 OPS and 74 OPS+. But if he can get back to what he did from 2017 to 2019, this already deep lineup goes to another level entirely.
During that three-year run, Pham batted .284/.381/.475 between St. Louis and Tampa Bay. Lately, he’s looked more and more like that guy.
Over his previous seven contests, he’s gone 11-for 20, capped by Monday’s two-home run performance. He’s back in a big way – and that’s putting it mildly.
Projected as the team’s everyday left fielder, Pham is ready to prove his doubters wrong and play a critical for for the Padres this season. Capable of driving in runs or setting the table, he brings a ton of value in a lot of different ways. Let’s hope he can carry this momentum into Opening Day next week and get off to a strong start.