Washington Nationals: Free Agent Profile Tommy Pham
By Max Rayman
In the middle of the lockout, it is time to take a look at another free agent profile. Next up is Tommy Pham.
Entering 2021, the Nationals have a glaring hole in left field. Yadiel Hernández and Andrew Stevenson will be vying to start, but neither are long-term answers and are better suited to come off the bench.
Instead, once the lockout ends Washington needs to focus on the free-agent market to find their 2022 starter. While teams vie for Nick Castellanos and Kris Bryant, the front office should turn their eyes to Tommy Pham.
A standout with the Cardinals and Rays, he struggled during his two-year tenure in San Diego, slashing .226/.335/.370. He also added 18 homers, 61 RBIs, and an OPS of .705.
Defensively, Pham can play all three outfield positions, but primarily spends time in left and center. In his career, he has 27 outfield assists, three DRS, and a 4.7 UZR. He’s at his best when in left, seen by his 19 outfield assists, eight DRS, and a 5.7 UZR.
Only 33, Pham will be looking to prove the last two years were a fluke. From 2017-2019, he averaged 21 homers, 68 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases and was one of the most underrated outfielders in the league. A change of scenery might just be what he needs to bounce back.
Last season, part of his struggles was due to Pham continually hitting into bad luck. He hit .229, with a slugging percentage of .389, but had an expected batting average and expected slugging percentage of .258 and .442. respectively.
Expecting a bounce back for Pham is understandable. 2021 saw Pham post a career-high in barrel percentage (10%), but make more medium contact and less hard contact. Tweaking that at the plate will allow him to rediscover his earlier success.
In D.C. Pham would be a solid bridge candidate until the Nationals can find a long-term answer in left.