Posted by JD on April 24, 2011
Man, these posts sure are fun to write during four-game winning streaks. Lots of positives came out of today’s win, but I’m going with Jason Pridie’s first major league home run, a three-run homer that gave the Mets added cushion (which would eventually come in handy). I’m a bit of a sap when it comes to sentimental milestones and I was leaning toward choosing Pridie from the minute the ball cleared the wall. 27 years-old, he appeared in 973 minor league games (and 11 games for the Twins as a September call-up in 2008 & 09) before being called up on Friday. He collect his first major league hit yesterday and topped it today with his first homer*. Mike Mazzeo of ESPN NY caught up with Pridie after the game and did a really nice job describing his reaction.
Pridie’s not likely to be with the club much longer (I can’t see him beating out Willie Harris and Scott Hairston when Angel Pagan returns from the disabled list), so it’s nice to see him make the most of his time here. Hopefully he shows enough to land a job with another team (if he chooses not to return to the Bisons when he’s ultimately designated for assignment) but if not, he’s at least notched some important career milestones and made a few good memories for himself.
*If the useless old stat of “Game Winning RBI” was still official, Pridie would have earned one today.
Posted in Angel Pagan, Mets, Something Nice | Tagged: Angel Pagan, Jason Pridie, Mets, Scott Hairston, Something Nice, Willie Harris | 2 Comments »
Posted by JD on February 15, 2011
If you have (or ever had) a blog, you’ve probably seen a random search engine term generate a page view or two for you. Sometimes they’re whimsical (“chico escuela baseball player?”), sometimes they’re aggravating (“Jose Reyes clubhouse cancer), and sometimes they’re just rationally offbeat enough to lead to a blog post. My first reaction when I saw the query “who is better angel pagan or rajai davis” in my search terms was something extremely intelligent, along the lines of “Duh, Pagan”. Then I realized that I know next to nothing about Rajai Davis, so I figured I’d head over to Baseball-Refernece.com to check it out.
Like Pagan, Davis debuted in 2006 and plays all three outfield positions. Davis is stockier (both are listed at 195 lbs, but Pagan is four inches taller) and Davis is more than a year older than Pagan. Despite the age difference, their playing time is very similar: although Davis has appeared in 58 more games, he actually has seven fewer plate appearances than Pagan (1,455 to 1,462). Their batting averages are similar (.281 for Davis, .285 for Pagan) and they’ve scored almost the same amount of runs (194 for Davis, 195 for Pagan). That’s about where the similarities end.
Davis is a more prolific base stealer, swiping 80 more bases than Pagan. But even that is deceiving, as his success percentage isn’t that much greater (79% vs 77%). Davis runs more, but runs into outs at about the same rate. Pagan has more power, hitting 27 more extra base hits (including 16 home runs) and his slugging percentage is .052 higher (.435 to Davis’ .383). He walks more, too: 105 walks to 86 for Davis (.335 OBP vs .330). Add it up and you get a .057 point advantage for Pagan in OPS. Taking it one step further and looking at their career OPS+ numbers reveals that Davis is below average (OPS+ 91) while Pagan is above (OPS+ 103).
rWAR makes the comparison even more one sided: Pagan’s career 9.5 rWAR almost doubles Davis’ 4.8 rWAR. In fact, according to rWAR Pagan’s 2010 season (4.8 rWAR) was worth as much as Davis’ entire career to date. Fangraphs is kinder to Davis, showing him trailing Pagan by only 3.2 fWAR (8.9 to 5.7).
So, random internet query person, Angel Pagan is better than Rajai Davis. You’re welcome.
Posted in Angel Pagan, Flushing Frivolities, Mets | Tagged: Angel Pagan, Flushing Frivolity, Mets, Rajai Davis | 3 Comments »
Posted by JD on February 7, 2011
Last week, Sandy Alderson commented that “stolen bases are a footnote”. He’s right, though as James Kannengeiser of Amazin Avenue noted “the Mets have been an elite base stealing machine over the last few seasons.” Actually, Kannengeiser’s analysis thoroughly covers the issue (that’s not the first time I’ve said that about his work) and I pretty much agree with every word of it, especially his conclusion.
But it got me thinking about which Mets players were the most efficient base stealers. So, I went over to Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index tool to take a deeper dive. Here’s a few highlights of what I found:
- 60 Mets have a perfect base stealing percentage. 55 of them stole 4 bases or less, including Tom Seaver (4-4), Kelly Stinnett (4-4), Josh Thole (2-2), Sid Fernandez (1-1) and Ron Darling (1-1).
- The five players who were 5-5 or better: Paul LoDuca (5-5), Shane Spencer (6-6), Dan Norman (8-8), Jason Bay (10-10) and Manny Alexander (11-11).
- The player with the best “non-perfect” stolen base success rate: Chico Walker, who went 21-22 in 222 games over the 1992-93 seasons. I liked Chico, because his name often reminded me of the immortal Chico Escuela.
- Shawn Green is the only other Met to exceed a 90% success rate, going 11-12 in 164 games over the 2006-07 seasons. He also owns a very, very expensive house.
Now, let’s look at some arbitrary thresholds (current Mets in bold text):
- Highest success rates, minimum 25 attempts: Bob Bailor, 40-46 (.870), Carlos Beltran, 97-113 (.858), Roberto Alomar, 22-26 (.846), Kaz Matsui, 22-26 (.846), Cliff Floyd, 32-38 (.842).
- Lowest success rates, minimum 25 attempts: Elliot Maddox, 6-28 (.214), Ed Kranepool, 15-42 (.357), Jerry Grote, 14-34 (.412), Jeff Kent, 12-28 (.429), Felix Millan, 11-25 (.440).
- Highest success rates, minimum 50 attempts: Carlos Beltran, 97-113 (.858), Lenny Dykstra, 116-141 (.823), Gregg Jeffries, 63-77 (.818), Luis Castillo, 55-68 (.809), Kevin McReynolds, 67-83 (.807).
- Lowest success rates, minimum 50 attempts: Joel Youngblood, 39-75 (.520), Wayne Garrett, 33-59 (.559), Rey Ordonez, 28-50 (.560), Bernard Gilkey, 29-50 (.580), Lenny Randle, 47-79 (.595).
- Highest success rates, minimum 100 attempts: Carlos Beltran, 97-113 (.858), Lenny Dykstra, 116-141 (.823), Jose Reyes, 331-416 (.796), Roger Cedeno, 103-135 (.778), David Wright, 138-180 (.767).
- Lowest success rates, minimum 100 attempts: John Stearns, 91-142 (.641), Cleon Jones, 91-139 (.655), Tommy Agee, 92-139 (.662), Lee Mazzilli, 152-223 (.682), Frank Taveras, 90-131 (.687).
- Success rates, minimum 200 stolen bases: Jose Reyes, 331-416 (.796), Howard Johnson, 202-265 (.762), Mookie Wilson, 281-371 (.757), Darryl Strawberry, 191-266 (.718), Lee Mazzilli, 152-223 (.682).
Three observations came to me:
- The late 60’s-early 70’s Mets ran a little, but without much success.
- The 80’s Mets ran a lot, with a fair amount of success.
- The current team has the three most successful runners in franchise history, plus Castillo (.809) and Angel Pagan (55-71, .775).
That final point brings me back to Kannengeiser’s post. I share his confidence in Alderson & Co., but I worry just a bit that this edge will be blunted. Time will tell, but it will most definitely be an interesting sub-plot to follow this season.
Posted in Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes, Luis Castillo, Mets, Sandy Alderson | Tagged: Bernard Gilkey, Bob Bailor, Carlos Beltran, Chico Escuela, Chico Walker, Cleon Jones, Cliff Floyd, Dan Norman, Darryl Strawberry, David Wright, Ed Kranepool, Elliot Maddox, Felix Millan, Frank Taveras, Gregg Jeffries, Howard Johnson, Jason Bay, Jeff Kent, Jerry Grote, Joel Youngblood, John Stearns, Jose Reyes, Josh Thole, Kaz Matsui, Kelly Stinnett, Kevin McReynolds, Lee Mazzilli, Lenny Dykstra, Lenny Randle, Luis Castillo, Manny Alexander, Mets, Mookie Wilson, Paul LoDuca, Rey Ordonez, Roberto Alomar, Roger Cedeno, Ron Darling, Sandy Alderson, Shane Spencer, Shawn Green, Sid Fernandez, Tom Seaver, Tommy Agee, Wayne Garrett | 1 Comment »
Posted by JD on December 7, 2010
While we wait for the next Mets’ transactions (Ronny Paulino, come on down!), I thought I’d take another look at one of my personal “hot-button” issues from the past two seasons: Angel Pagan’s “baseball instincts”.
One of the more pleasant aspects of this past season was watching the change in Mets’ fans collective opinion of Angel Pagan. When I wrote this post in February, it was still popular to say that he had poor “baseball instincts” (i.e., he was not “scrappy” or “gritty” enough to be a “winner”). That had largely changed by the time I wrote this post in May, but there was still a bit of resistance. I think it’s safe to say now that the vast majority of Mets fans recognize that Pagan is a solid baseball player, which is refreshing.
If any additional evidence is necessary, it can be found in the 2011 Bill James Handbook. Pagan finished fifth among center fielders in the voting for the Fielding Bible Awards (Peter Gammons listed him as the best center fielder in the game, so he’s got that going for him). His one year Plus/Minus and Runs Saved numbers were not among the ten best in any of the outfield positions. This is not a good thing, obviously, but I wonder if it’s related to the fact that he played all over the place last year? I doubt it, because his 94 games in center field (as opposed to just 33 in right and 27 in left) seems like it would be enough to qualify him there. I don’t know enough about advanced defensive statistics to know how to weight this properly. My point is that Pagan’s defensive skills have entered the national discussion, a major shift from the previous season.
The story gets better when you look at Pagan’s season on the basepaths. Bill James’ base running stats factor in league averages for base running events (such as advancing to third from first on a single), “sum(s) up all of the positives and negatives from players being above or below average,” and factors in stolen bases (this is still a an over-simplification, so I’d still highly recommend buying the book for a more detailed explanation). Pagan was +12 in 2009. This year, he lead all Mets base runners with a +35. That tied him with Drew Stubbs for 12 best in baseball. The rest of the best:
Although he improved almost across the board, one of the biggest reasons he improved was by stealing bases more successfully. In 2009, Pagan was successful in 14 of 21 attempts (66.7%), which was just about league average. In 2010, Pagan stole 37 times in 46 attempts (80.4%), an impressive jump. If it weren’t for Jason Bay’s perfect 10 for 10 (only Florida’s Emilio Bonifacio had more steals (12) without getting caught), Pagan would have lead the team in stolen base percentage.
Pagan’s 46 attempts were good for thirteenth overall. If we draw the line there, Pagan’s 80.4% is good for 7th in all of baseball. That’s way too arbitrary for my tastes, but the point is there were only a dozen base runners better than Pagan and, depending on how you slice it, a dozen or two better base stealers. Not bad at all.
The public perception of Angel Pagan has come a long way in a year, and his performance in 2010 did nothing to diminish it.
Posted in Angel Pagan, Mets | Tagged: Angel Pagan, Austin Jackson, Ben Zobrist, Bill James, BJ Upton, Brett Gardner, Carl Crawford, Carlos Gonzalez, Drew Stubbs, Elvis Andrus, Emilio Bonifacio, Jason Bay, Juan Pierre, Mets, Michael Bourn, Peter Gammons, Rajai Davis, Ronny Paulino, Shane Victorino | 2 Comments »
Posted by JD on June 27, 2010
A few thoughts before I head off to Citi Field for a rubber match with the Twins:
- American Idle: I’m not sure what’s worse: the fact that Carl Pavano threw a complete game three-hit shutout, or that he almost had as many hits as the entire Mets lineup. Pick your poison, because both were fatal to the Mets yesterday.
- Jeff Francoeur: One of those three hits was a bunt single from our OBP-challenged right fielder. He made an outstanding throw to nail Denard Span at third, but if Angel Pagan doesn’t take his spot in the lineup when Carlos Beltran returns, it will be a crime.
- Dueling Mustaches: At some point during the game, SNY ran a side-by-side photo of Pavano and Keith Hernandez, comparing their mustaches. I saw it at the stadium so I couldn’t hear the commentary or take a screen-cap, but the awesomeness of it all was not lost in translation.
- Johan Santana: I think it’s unfair to pin this loss on Santana alone (the lineup generated absolutely nothing), but it’s reasonable to wonder what he has left: he’s really struggled this season. He’s coming off of elbow surgery and dealing with troubling accusations of sexual assault, and he’s not getting any younger. The Mets will be paying him a lot of money over the next three or four years ($78 – $97.5 million, depending on whether his option is picked up), and it’s safe to say that they won’t receive proper value for that money. But what’s done is done, and they’ll have to make the most of it. We would do well to adjust our expectations for him: Santana will be up-and-down throughout the rest of the season, and the end results will be thoroughly mediocre. It’s unfortunate, but that’s where we are.
Posted in Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran, Idle Thoughts, Jeff Francoeur, Johan Santana, Mets | Tagged: Angel Pagan, Carl Pavano, Carlos Beltran, Jeff Francoeur, Johan Santana, Mets, Minnesota Twins | Leave a Comment »