MLB: The most valuable left fielders of 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 15: Fans and Washington Nationals left fielder Juan Soto (22) await the ball during a MLB game between the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves, on September 15, 2019, at Nationals Park, in Washington, D.C.(Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 15: Fans and Washington Nationals left fielder Juan Soto (22) await the ball during a MLB game between the Washington Nationals and the Atlanta Braves, on September 15, 2019, at Nationals Park, in Washington, D.C.(Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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Tommy Pham, traded from tampa Bay to San Diego. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Tommy Pham, traded from tampa Bay to San Diego. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

4. Tommy Pham, Tampa Bay Rays, $9.953 million value; $4.1 million salary

Largely overlooked during his first four seasons in St. Louis, Pham emerged following a mid-2018 trade to Tampa and by last year was a stalwart in the heart of the Rays’ playoff lineup. So much so that it came as a surprise to a lot of Rays backers when Tampa Bay traded him this winter to San Diego for Hunter Renfroe.

Pham’s weakness is versatility. He’s a hitter, as evinced by his .273 average, 56 extra base hits and 119 OPS+ rating. That translated to a 3.7 WAR, the position’s fourth best, that was worth $9.018 million in on-field value.

He showed little range, making just 1.37 plays for the Rays in 2019. Among all measured left fielders, only Atlanta’s Austin Riley made fewer. His range only added $351,000 to Pham’s value.

He did log 1,093 innings, the position’s seventh best total and good for a final $584,000.

The Padres are counting on Pham to do precisely what he did in Tampa: Play left field inauspiciously and hit the heck out of the ball. He’s a second-year arbitration eligible player who projects to earn about $8 million in 2020. That will bring his salary approximately in line with his production.