Who Is The Real Angel Pagan?

Angel Pagan has performed admirably this season, both at the plate and in the field. His .348 wOBA plays quite well for a center fielder, and would even be respectable for a corner outfielder in the National League. His defense has been above average in limited time, buoyed by a valuable throwing arm according to the advanced defensive metrics. Throw in strong baserunning (last night's 1st inning debacle notwithstanding) and he's been a ~1 WAR performer. Pretty good for a reserve outfielder pressed into full time duty due to a rash of injuries. However, it's not likely to last and any hope that he has a spot as a Mets starter in the future is misguided.

In 2517 career minor league at-bats, Pagan sports a .281/.340/.374 line. This includes just 18 home runs, good for one every 140 at-bats. None of these stats are impressive, and it's pretty amazing he has made it onto a major league roster. Even Jeremy Reed enjoyed some minor league success, posting an .864 OPS during his career on the farm. Additionally, Pagan's offensive showing this year is a bit of a mirage. His BABIP of .360 is way above his career figure. Considering he's now 28 years old, his career major league line of .267/.321/.409 seems more telling. We can't ignore thousands of career at-bats when projecting his future performance.

Besides hitting, another of Pagan's issues is injury. He can't seem to stay on the field, whether it's last year's unlucky shoulder injury or this year's groin pull. Like Alex Cora,  Pagan is better in small doses.  

Pagan won't have much trade value this offseason, barring a miraculous rest of the season. The Mets would be better off holding onto him as a 4th/5th outfielder who has the ability to play center field. With Carlos Beltran likely requiring a decent amount of days off going forward (assuming he plays at all next season), Pagan has some value as a once or twice a week fill-in. Credit Omar Minaya for re-acquiring Pagan for two non-factor players before last season, but let's get real - he is not a 150-game, everyday major league outfielder.

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