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Tommy Pham notches a 20/20 season


Quietly, Cardinals outfielder Tommy Pham has had an excellent season. That continued on Thursday afternoon against the Reds as he doubled, hit a two-run home run, and stole two bases in a 5-2 win.

The home run marked No. 20 on the year for Pham and the stolen bases were his 20th and 21st. He is one of five players in baseball with at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases, joining Jose Altuve, Elvis Andrus, Mookie Betts, and Mike Trout.

After Thursday’s action, Pham is batting .307/.410/.521 with 65 RBI and 85 runs scored along with his 20 dingers and 21 swiped bags. According to FanGraphs, he also bumped his season total up to 5 Wins Above Replacement, becoming one of 16 players in baseball with at least that much WAR.

Prior to 2017, Pham had been a complimentary player; not a lineup regular. The Cardinals slotted him in the outfield for good in early May and Pham never looked back. He’s been one of baseball’s most underappreciated players, helping keep the Cardinals’ postseason hopes alive. They are 2.5 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central and three games back of the Rockies for the second NL Wild Card slot.

Other players near a 20/20 season include Whit Merrifield (17 HR, 29 SB), Wil Myers (27 HR, 19 SB), Brett Gardner (20 HR, 19 SB), Keon Broxton (20 HR, 19 SB), Andrew Benintendi (19 HR, 18 SB), Paul Goldschmidt (34 HR, 17 SB), Chris Taylor (19 HR, 16 SB), Alex Bregman (16 HR, 16 SB), Brian Dozier (30 HR, 15 SB), and Jose Ramirez (26 HR, 15 SB). If they all reach the 20/20 mark, that would make 15 across baseball this season, which would tie 2001 for the second-most 20/20 players in a single season, according to Baseball Reference. 1999 saw 19 20/20 players.

Dbacks outfielder Steven Souza injured his right shoulder last night

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Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Steven Souza dove for a ball in a spring training game last night, missed, and ended up injuring his right shoulder.

It looked bad, too. Center fielder Jarrod Dyson stood over him, frantically waving to the dugout for a trainer as Souza kicked his legs in apparent pain. Souza held his arms awkwardly as he walked off the field. At the moment the Dbacks are calling it a right shoulder strain, but he’ll get an MRI on it today after which a more specific diagnosis will come.

If Souza is out for a while it’s a pretty big blow to Arizona’s 2018 plan. Souza was acquired to help cushion the blow of losing J.D. Martinez in free agency. While not the hitter Martinez is, Souza hit 30 homers in Tampa Bay last year, stood likely to at least match that in the more hitter-friendly confines of Chase Field and, of course, plays superior defense.

Potential replacements for Souza include moving David Peralta from left to right and inserting Yasmany Tomas in left or having fourth outfielder Dyson, or perhaps a platoon of Dyson and utilityman Chris Owings, handle right. Socrates Brito is another internal option.

Obviously the Snakes will wait to hear the results of the MRI before going too deeply into replacement plans, all the while hoping that Souza’s injury is far less serious than it appeared to be last night.