Posted by JD on May 30, 2011
After attending today’s sweep averting Mets’ win and witnessing Jose Reyes at his very best, I decided to head over to Baseball-Reference.com and see how many players have had three games in a season in which they hit two or more triples. It’s a short list: only 13 other players have ever done it. Dig a little deeper and you’ll see that only two players have done it since the first wave of expansion: Kenny Lofton in 1995 (in a strike-shortened season: wow) and Carl “The Perfect Storm” Crawford in 2004. Crawford actually had four games with two or more triples, which ties him for the record with Bill Terry and Barney McCosky.
Fitting, no? In the same week in which Fred Wilpon dinged Reyes for wanting “Carl Crawford money”, Reyes goes out and becomes the first player since The Perfect Storm to have three multiple-triple games in the same season. It was a silly comment when he made it and Reyes has only made it look sillier. I truly hope it was an off-the-cuff thing by Wilpon and that when he left his message for Reyes he apologized for what he said (as opposed to apologizing for saying it to a reporter for a national magazine). Why does that distinction matter to me? Because I’d hate to think that Wilpon has never looked at their stats.
Even thought they both debuted in the majors at the age of 20, Crawford is almost two years older (he’s currently in his age 29 season while Reyes is in his age 28 season). Here are their slash numbers through their age 27 seasons (2009 for Crawford, 2010 for Reyes): .295/.335/.437/.772 for Crawford, .286/.335/.434/.769. Crawford’s advantage boils down to .009 in batting average and .003 in slugging average. That’s a wash, and it doesn’t even consider the fact that Reyes is a shortstop. Reyes also finished eighth in Rookie of the Year voting, went to two All-Star games, won the Silver Slugger once, and received MVP votes in four consecutive seasons. Crawford didn’t get a single Rookie of the Year vote, went to three All-Star games, and received MVP votes in one season. Through their age 27 seasons, I could argue that Reyes deserved more money than Crawford and not get laughed out of the conversation.
Crawford’s age 28 season was excellent (he was an All Star, won the Silver Slugger, and got MVP votes), so there’s that. But their career lines are still very similar: .295/.335/.442/.777 for Crawford and .288/.337/.435/.772. So, since I’m trying to be generous, I’ll just attribute Wilpon’s comments to his frustration at the time. Because it’s pretty clear to me that Reyes has every right to ask for “Carl Crawford money”.
I apologize if this is the 437th post you’ve read about Wilpon’s comments in the New Yorker. Jose Reyes is my favorite player and a big, big reason why I keep renewing my season tickets. I just love watching the guy play and it pained me to read that the owner of my favorite team casually dismissed his salary demands (and, by extension, his future with the Mets). It cut close to the bone and I’m still trying to process it. For all I know, Wilpon intends to spend a lot of money on Reyes and this is something we’ll all look back and laugh at in a few years. I sure hope so. But just to be safe, I’ll be attending every game I can while he’s still here. I’m going to enjoy watching Jose Reyes play while I still can.
Posted in Jose Reyes, Mets, The Wilpons | Tagged: Barney McCosky, Bill Terry, Carl Crawford, Fred Wilpon, Jose Reyes, Kenny Lofton | 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 »