These 3 players weren’t expected to make any impact on the 2017 Cardinals but without these 3 the Cardinals likely would’ve finished under .500. These 3 players all started the season down with the Memphis Redbirds & battled their way up to the Cards. Tommy Pham has been in the Cardinals organization for 12 years as he was drafted in the 16th round of the 2006 Draft & he made his MLB Debut in 2012. Pham had been used as a depth option for the Cards since 2012 & battled for the 4th OF spot in Spring Training of 2017. He lost the battle to 1B/OF Jose Martinez. Pham then raked in Memphis hitting in the .280’s & having 4 homers in around 20 G’S. He was then recalled due to struggles in the Cardinals outfield & he never looked back ending the season as the everyday LF, hitting over .300, becoming a 20-20 man (20 HR’S & 20 SB’S), & finishing in 12th place for the NL MVP Voting.
Not many people heard of Paul DeJong at the time of his call-up although he showed very solid power in Memphis. He was called-up due to the struggles of SS Aledmys Diaz. DeJong has been in the Cards organization since 2015 when he was drafted in the 4th round of the 2015 Draft. He made his way up the Minor Leagues quickly showing solid defense along with well above average power. DeJong hit a HR in his 1st MLB At-Bat off of All-Star CL Greg Holland but struggled after that & got optioned. He was recalled a few weeks later & never looked back hitting the 2nd most HR’S for a Cardinals Rookie ever with 25 & finishing in 2nd place for the NL ROY Voting.
Luke Weaver was drafted in the 1st round (27th overall) in the 2014 Draft. He (as well as DeJong) made his way up the Cardinals Minor League System quickly dominating Minor League Hitting with an ERA of 3.54 from 2014-2016 (3.54 doesn’t look dominant but in 2014 when he was making his professional debut he had an ERA of 7.71 but the 2 years after that he had a 1.62 & 1.30 ERA). He then made his MLB Debut in 2016 & struggled pitching to an ERA of 5.70. He then started the season in Memphis & dominated with a 2.55 ERA. He came back up & completely dominated.
Credit to: @jc.designs