Niko moved down a level and over from shortstop to third base. Is his next move back up? Today's…
School: Durango High School, Las Vegas, NV
Selected 2009 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Dustin Mattison (44): I had ranked Pham in my top 40 the past two years and finally he sneaks in at number 40 overall. The Cardinals went above slot to sign Pham in the 2006 draft and since he has shown flashes of the athleticism the Cardinals had hoped for. Unfortunately, he has never been able to find any consistency over a full season. But, Pham does have time on his side, as he will turn just 22 shortly before the start of the 2010 season.
Pham possesses great raw power, fine speed on the bases, and superior arm strength. During the 2009 season at Palm Beach, he hit .210/.275/.313 in his first 58 games. The second half of the season, he improved drastically and hit .256/.353/.450 while also hitting six of his eight home runs. Hopefully, Pham will build upon the momentum of his second half and carry it over to next season.
With the success the Cardinals have had recently moving players to the mound, I wonder how much long the organization waits to try this with Pham. Remember, he threw 92 while in high school as a part-time pitcher.
Message board community (30): After a two-year absence, Pham reappears on The Cardinal Nation (Birdhouse) top 40 list. A hyped prospect that was supposedly paid over slot to keep him away from a football scholarship, Pham finally started to show some of his promise in the second half of 2009. However, it was not just Pham's slash line (.232/.313/.378 - .256/.353/.450 second half) that got people's attention. It was also his underlying stats such as improving his line drive rate from 11% to 21% and reducing his strikeout rate while simultaneously improving his walk rate. Pham also constantly receives praise from those who see his defense firsthand. On the negative side, Pham did not hit home runs at the same rate he did last year at Quad Cities where he hit nearly one per every 18 at bats.
The Cards will most likely face a tough choice next spring in deciding whether to promote Pham to Double-A Springfield or let him try to build on his strong second half with a return to A-Advanced Palm Beach. - CariocaCardinal
Brian Walton (NR): During Pham's two-year absence from our countdown, he converted from shortstop to the outfield, seemed to lose his way, only to have made some progress on the road back in the interim. Though he was drafted late in the 2006 draft, it was due to a college commitment. Because Pham was bonused like a third-round pick, those are the expectations he carried, at least with me.
As a point of comparison, another toolsy outfielder, Daryl Jones, was the Cardinals' third-rounder the year prior. He reached Palm Beach in his fourth season out of high school, just like Tommy. The difference is that Jones posted an .882 OPS in the Florida State League and finished at .909 with Springfield that same year while Pham fell short of .700 at Palm Beach. I expect Tommy to return there to start the 2010 season.
Pham did not make my personal list of top 52 Cardinals prospects, but that doesn't mean I am down on him. He obviously is athletic and seems very serious about his business, at least every time I have seen him and spoken with him. I am just waiting for Pham to demonstrate more success than in just short bursts. With a career OPS of just .647, there is a lot of work ahead.
Our 2010 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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