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Tommy Pham notches a 20/20 season

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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.

Watch: Christian Yelich continues to make a case for NL MVP repeat

Christian Yelich
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Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.

The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.

While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.

Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.

It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.