Angel Pagan vs. Rajai Davis, Just Because
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.