1. Tommy Pham
Before you slap me upside the head, just listen. LISTEN. OK, you’re slapping me anyway. Should’ve seen that coming.
The 34-year-old Pham has been more infamous than effective in 2022, leading the charge in the Great Fantasy Football Debate of ’21-’22. The Reds outfielder’s open-palm smack of Joc Pederson for stashing players on his IR did give us one great moment (Mike Trout almost admitting live on ESPN that the ESPN Fantasy Football app sucks), but the whirlwind of chatter is the type of thing a team should only endure if the production is top-notch.
Spoiler: the production isn’t top-notch.
Though Pham has heated up a bit, hitting .315 with a .556 slugging percentage in his past 15 games (perhaps seeing red because of the beef), his overall season slash line leaves plenty to be desired (.247/.346/.418). Add in his status as an aging disruptor, and the Yankees can probably find outfield depth elsewhere. Trading for Andrew Benintendi or Ian Happ would be vastly preferable, and while Pham would likely provide more production than an Estevan Florial promotion, at least there’s very little chance that would upset the apple cart.
Pham stings the baseball (95th percentile average exit velocity, 89th maximum exit velocity), but he also strikes out regularly (34th percentile) and surprisingly hasn’t been able to translate his hard liners into an impressive expected batting average (58th percentile). Add in his defensive lapses (41st percentile in outs above average, 29th in outfield jump), and Pham would be unlikely to provide rock-solid play from a fourth outfielder position. There’s too much Joey Gallo in his game (the hard-hit/xBA disparity), and there’s too much attitude to be satisfied with being buried on the bench.
Not every 2022 Yankee has to absolutely sting the baseball. Some just have to play elite defense and put bat on ball (Benny). Pham would have been a better fit for the dysfunctional 2021 version of this roster.