Angel Pagan Expected to Lead San Francisco Giants’ Offense in 2014
After winning two World Series titles in the past three seasons, the San Francisco Giants are looking to rebound from a disappointing 2013 season. The Giants tied for third place in the NL West with a 76-86 record. There were many things that derailed the team’s success (injuries, inconsistencies, poor pitching), but the mid-season injury of Angel Pagan seemed to be the start of their offensive struggles.
Pagan showed poise as the team’s lead-off hitter leading San Francisco in stolen bases (29), runs (95) and was second in hits (174) in 2012. He also posted an impressive .440 slugging percentage in 605 at-bats. Pagan suffered a hamstring injury after scoring the winning run off an inside-the-park home run against the Colorado Rockies in late May.
Pagan re-injured himself in his first minor-league rehab game and underwent surgery to repair a torn hamstring. Manager Bruce Bochy announced that Pagan would be out for 12 weeks and was most likely done for the season in late June.
There was a noticeable difference in the Giants’ clubhouse without Pagan, and San Francisco struggled to consistently produce runs and get on base. The Giants averaged 4.51 runs per game through May compared to 3.63 runs per game in June.
The team’s batting average was .270 in April and May but fell to .255 the last four months of the season. The Giants also averaged more hits (250) in those first two months than Boston and New York.
If the Giants are looking to improve their 21st ranked offense then Pagan needs to be healthy this upcoming season and stay that way. Pagan’s enthusiasm and energy were greatly missed behind the plate and seemed to have real effect on the mood of the team as well.
“…But it showed how it important he was to our club, with his presence leading off…He changes our club, no question about it. I think we’d be in a better situation than where we are,” said Bruce Bochy in a CSN Bay Area interview.
Pagan’s ability to hit inside one of the baseball’s toughest parks is one thing that makes him such a valuable asset to the Giants. He is able to make things happen when the Giants need it the most which is something that has become a rarity in the San Francisco lineup.
If he comes into the season with the same charisma he had last season then fans and teammates can be confident in Pagan’s ability to lead the Giants’ offense in the right direction.