Pham Raising the Bar for 2018

There are a lot of numbers to look back on in 2017 for Tommy Pham. The St. Louis Cardinals finalist for the Hank Aaron Award, Tommy was among the team leaders in most offensive categories and in terms of National League rankings, he was 11th with a .306 batting average, third in on-base percentage at .411, and fourth with 25 stolen bases.

But of all the numbers perhaps the most to standout is 530–the number of plate appearances he was able to make this season.

“Yeah, it’s probably my most in a long time,” agreed Pham. “If anything, I would like to get to 600 now, so still have a little ways to go.”

And while he hadn’t yet fully reflected on the year, Pham shared that he did have a few ideas of where he would be looking to improve for next season–starting with increasing his speed. He plans to lose around 10lbs of “dead weight” to help in that regard.

“The speed will help with numerous areas of my game,” said Pham. “That’s going to help me on defense, it’s going to help me on the bases, it can even help me offensively from being able to leg out more hits and stretch singles into doubles, doubles into triples.

“I’m going to look at ways to improve my plate discipline–I would like to get under 20%. And I would like to increase my line drive percentage because that’s what’s going to help me achieve more success offensively.”

According to FanGraphs.com, Pham hit a line drive 22.2% of the time on balls he put into play.

“It ties together,” continued Pham. “Driving the ball–a lot of the guys try to look at the fly ball epidemic, that doesn’t work for me. I just focus on hitting line drives because I can hit line drives out. I hit numerous of them out this year and line drives are the hardest balls to catch, so I’m just going to focus on that.”

And before he begins training, Tommy is going to take some to time to rest and allow his body to recover.

“I need to go work on my body for about two weeks,” explained Pham, who was still dealing with a jammed up shoulder from diving into second base the beginning of September. “I’m sure with some rest and physical therapy I should be alright.”

After taking some time off, Pham will return to his native Las Vegas to begin training before heading to the Dominican for Winter Ball. Thankfully, Tommy and none of his family or friends were victims in the recent concert shooting in Las Vegas.

“I wasn’t in Vegas,” shared Pham. “It’s sad. It’s just a horrible tragedy for anyone to do such a thing. And with it being the city I was born and raised in–the city I love, it hurts more.”

So how does he look back on the 2017 season?

“Succeeding under the adversity I was dealt with,” answered Pham. “A lot of people would’ve folded. I overcame a lot of adversity and not only overcame it, I thrived when I was given a chance, an opportunity.”

Consider the bar officially raised for Tommy Pham in 2018.

“That is the goal, to try and build off what you did,” he said. “A lot of people in general–a lot of people are complacent with their success. I’m going to try and build off it and get better.”

photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI, Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports, Bill Greenblatt/UPI

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