Angel Pagan Is The Mets Best Slugger Not Named Beltran

An article by posted on September 22, 2009

Angel Pagan is having himself quite a season, and is making the most out of the playing time he has gotten in leftfield and centerfield.

While looking at his stats this morning, I couldn’t believe that among all Mets with 100 or more at-bats, only Carlos Beltran at .518, has a higher slugging percentage than Angel Pagan who wields an impressive .481 mark. David Wright, who is third on the team, checks in with a .453 slugging percentage, far less than Pagan’s. Pagan’s slugging percentage is higher than sluggers Ian Kinsler, Jermaine Dye, David Ortiz, Dan Uggla and Todd Helton.

Pagan is one triple away from leading the Majors in triples with 11, and those players ahead of him have twice as many plate appearances.

I don’t know if this is an indictment on the Mets offense or a telling sign that Angel Pagan may warrant some strong consideration for the everyday job in left field next season.

My opinion?

I think the Mets have themselves one heck of a  fourth outfielder, probably the best in baseball, but that’s where it ends… for now.

If only I could block the fundamental mistakes he commits from time to time, I would even consider him as a worthy left fielder, but it would go against everything I believe in to reward Pagan with the everyday job next season.

I love Angel, but before we hand him a role like that, he has to know that how important it is to play smarter in the field or at the plate. He reminds me of Jose Reyes in many ways in that regard. The two of them obviously have a world of skills and talent, but come up empty in the baseball IQ department.

That doesn’t mean that we give up on either of them or God forbid trade them, it just means that we need this team to focus on fundamentals and one way we can do that is by setting an example and letting players know we will not tolerate these costly mistakes anymore.

We have to play Jose Reyes because he means so much to this offense, but we don’t have to play Angel Pagan everyday. There should be no rewards for some of the scoring opportunities Angel Pagan has cost us this season.

That said, playing time means the opportunity to earn more money for players, especially as they enter their arbitration years. Money is the biggest motivator in sports. Lets keep Pagan hungry, and lets use him as an example of how important fundamentals are to this team.

On Friday, Jerry Manuel said that next spring training the focus will be on fundamentals and that he will not tolerate some of the baserunning and fielding blunders he has seen this season by his team including the veterans.

I truly hope he means that and is not giving us the same lip service we got from Willie Randolph after the 2007 season.

As much as I admire the passion that Angel Pagan brings to the field, I have to impress on you that handing him the everyday left field job would send a wrong message to the entire team.

I know there are many of you who may disagree, but if we don’t start focusing on fundamentals now, than when?

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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