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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.

Shohei Ohtani medically cleared to begin throwing progression

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The Angels released a medical update on P/DH Shohei Ohtani Thursday evening. Ohtani was reevaluated by Dr. Steve Yoon at the Kerlan Jobe Institute. The right-hander’s sprained UCL showed improved healing and, as a result, he has been cleared to begin a throwing progression.

Ohtani, 24, was diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow after his June 6 start against the Royals and hasn’t pitched since, though he has been in the lineup as a hitter since July 3. It was initially believed he would undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Then the thought was that Ohtani wouldn’t pitch again for the rest of the season, but this update suggests a possibility he could return to the mound before the season is over.

In nine starts, Ohtani put together a 3.10 ERA with a 61/20 K/BB ratio in 49 1/3 innings. As a hitter, he batted .283/.365/.522 with seven home runs and 22 RBI in 157 plate appearances.