Angel Pagan: Starter or Utility Man?

An article by posted on September 15, 2009

Since the Mets are officially out of playoff contention it’s officially time to start thinking about next season and whom will be playing for the Mets.  If there has been one good thing about this dismal season it’s that we have seen what the Mets bench next year will be like.  If everyone stays healthy and the Mets make a few good off season moves with this bench we could have a good season.  One of the players who has gotten everyone’s attention this season was Angel Pagan.

Pagan took over duties for Carlos Beltran in center-field when Beltran was sent to the disabled list with a bone bruise.  He has impressed fans, writers and the Mets with his play during this time.  He was given a chance with all these injuries this season and took full advantage.  It’s gotten people who follow this team talking and asking about the possibility of Pagan starting out in left-field next year.  There are pros and cons for having Angel Pagan as our everyday outfielder for next year that I’m sure Omar Minaya will be thinking about during this long off season coming up.

Pros:

  • Defensively he is an immediate upgrade over Daniel Murphy who was the 2008 opening day starter out in left-field.  In 554.2 innings played in the outfield Pagan has 2 errors where Daniel Murphy in 213.2 had 3, not counting on how many balls Murph couldn’t get to or just fell down on his backside trying to get to.  He puts making the play first opposed to his well being as we saw last year against the Dodgers.
  • He’s a team guy.  As we heard in David Ponte’s interview with him Pagan is a team first guy.  He does not care about where in the lineup he is, he just wants to be able to play and help contribute to the success of this team.
  • As of this writing In 70 games so far this season Pagan is hitting .305 with 6 HR’s, his highest total of HR’s in his short career for any season.  He’s not an easy out at the plate, works counts, drive up the pitch count against opposing pitchers.

Unfortunately there are a cons to consider as well when thinking about whether or not he should be an everyday outfielder come 2010.

Cons:

  • Angel over the last two season’s has shown that he is prone to injuries and spending time on the disabled list.  In May of 2008 after impressing the team and the fans during Spring Training he hurt his shoulder diving for a ball, which ultimately led to him having season ending surgery.  He has spent time on the DL this season just like many other Mets.
  • Pagan does not have any power at the plate.  As of this writing he has had 681 AB’s and has only hit 15 HR’s in his career.  The Mets have shown this season that lack of power does not win you ball games.  LF is traditionally a power hitter’s position.
  • He lacks the fundamentals needed to start everyday.  His baserunning has really hurt the Mets this season.  You cannot give away outs the way he does on the basepath’s.  He does not pickup the 3rd base coach at times, sometimes stopping when he shouldn’t, sometimes going when he shouldn’t.  He has shown on at least one occasion that he lost track of outs in the inning, resulting in a double play.

I personally think that Pagan should not be the everyday outfielder for the Mets when 2010 starts.  I think Pagan has secured a spot on the roster as the #4 outfielder on this team.  He has shown he’s a good pinch hitter and he can be used to give Beltran, Francoeur and whoever will be the other outfielder the day off once and while, especially down the stretch or if there’s an injury he can play for a limited time.  Pagan has done a great job, I look forward to seeing him on the roster next year, just as a backup.

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