In what has been a tumultuous season for the Mets, the club has to be counting their blessings from the season they have gotten from outfielder Angel Pagan.
After last night’s 9-3 loss to the division leading Atlanta Braves, the Mets (now 65-66) are looking like a team just stringing it along waiting for the season to end. But there is Pagan, in the middle of another disappointing season, just going about business and proving to be a beacon of hope in an otherwise gloomy wasteland.
The Mets are now 11 games back of the NL East leading Braves and 8 games back of the wild-card, but if they did not have Pagan, just imagine how much worse it could be.
Let me count the ways.
In a season marred by street-fighting closers (K-Rod), wallet-fattening and splinter inducing head cases (Oliver Perez), big-buck slumping bats (Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran) and bumbling management and personnel, Pagan has gone about and has produced in what amounts to be an all-star type season. Through 466 at-bats, Pagan leads the team with a .296 batting average, and also leads the team with 32 stolen bases. Pagan has been terrific across the board while contributing 10 home runs, 67 runs, and 57 RBI’s.
While some might consider those numbers ho-hum, realize that he started the season behind Gary Matthews Jr on the depth chart. Let’s also not forget how clutch Pagan has been.
With runners on, Pagan’s AVG. is 337 (.394 OBP), and with runners in scoring position Pagan’s AVG. climbs to .354 (.422 OBP). Pagan is also batting a respectable .273 with runners in scoring position and two outs.
To date, Pagan has thoroughly outproduced and outplayed the entire Mets outfield of Beltran, Bay and Jeff Francoeur, all of which were ahead of Pagan in the Mets outfield pecking order at the start of the season. Not to mention, Pagan comes at a fraction of the price of his overpaid outfield brethren.
Pagan’s fielding has also been a major source of pride for the Mets. Pagan covers a lot of ground, and if not for Beltran and his contract, should be the starting center fielder.
While he may not be the Mets MVP, as David Wright leads the team in multiple categories (HR’s, RBI’s, Hits, and OBP) or even comeback player, as R.A. Dickey has turned the baseball world upside down, the Mets still would be lost without Pagan.
The Mets have had multiple injuries in the outfield, and Pagan, when called upon, has excelled in each of the outfield spots. And when Jose Reyes is out of the lineup, as he is now, Pagan has filled in admirably at the leadoff spot. In fact, Pagan has now batted in every spot in the order besides cleanup.
To say that Pagan is versatile, is to say that the sun is hot.
So while Wright continues his resurgent season, and Dickey keeps on being the feel-god story of the Mets, Pagan’s season is somewhat getting lost in the shuffle.
But Mets fans everywhere are counting their blessings that they have been touched by this Angel.