1 Mets player who isn't getting enough early praise this season

San Diego Padres v New York Mets
San Diego Padres v New York Mets / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

If history is any indicator, the New York Mets have a tall challenge tonight as they will face future Hall-of-Famer Clayton Kershaw when they take on the Dodgers tonight. Kershaw is 10-0 lifetime vs. the Mets with a 2.17 ERA in 16 games.

Newcomer Tommy Pham has just as tall an order against Kershaw, as he is 1-of-14 lifetime against the lefty with 5 strikeouts. But Pham will likely be in tonight’s lineup anyway, but that is because of the lefty-right matchup. Still, Pham isn’t getting the credit he deserves for his early returns in orange andd blue.

New York Mets outfielder Tommy Pham has been above average in everything according to Baseball Savant.

Through many analytical measures, Pham has excelled, from hitting the ball hard, making contact and great eye discipline.

Entering play on Monday, he ranked in the 94th percentile in chase rate (16.4 percent), 92nd percentile in expected batting average (.323), and 90th percentile in average exit velocity (93.5 mph).

Pham is batting .273 with two home runs and an .870 OPS in 39 plate appearances.

The Mets have had a bit more success against lefties then they’ve had in previous years and Pham’s presence as a platoon player (and new corrective eye lenses) have made it possible.

There has always been a level of upside when it came to Pham. With the St. Louis Cardinals, he finished 11th in league MVP voting in 2017, when he hit .306 with 23 homers, 25 stolen bases and an OPS+ of 144. That’s why when the Cardinals traded him to the Tampa Bay Rays at the trade deadline that summer, it was viewed as a questionable decision by the Cardinals’ front office because they got three flawed prospects who eventually have combined for a career -1.8 wins above replacement.

The Rays went 36-19 after they acquired Pham that season, and he was a jolt to their lineup which had struggled to find runs that year.

Then after he spent time in San Diego, Cincinnati, and Boston the next three years, he landed in Flushing as the Mets’ solution to their outfield depth question.

There were other options for the Mets’ need of a righty power hitter that could come off the bench like Adam Duvall and Luke Voit, but Pham deserves credit for what he’s given the Mets so far in the young campaign.

This could have been yet another example of a player that was unfairly run out of town early due to early poor performance, but Pham has set a tone early and he’ll get more playing time if the Mets happen to lose any of their starting outfielders in Mark Canha, Starling Marte, or sudden Gold Glove contender Brandon Nimmo.

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