Center field is on of the most respected and revered positions in baseball.
As a Giants fan, I did not always know this.
Since I’ve been a Giants fan, I have watched the likes of Marvin Benard (cute), Kenny Lofton (old), Marquis Grissom (older),
Aaron Rowand and Andres Torres (godsend) play center at AT&T Park. Aside from Torres’ 2010 season, the Giants’ centerfielders were never much to write home about.
As an adult* baseball fan I’ve come to understand that older guys who hit for power rather than average is a Giants-specific strategy, not an indication of how center field is supposed to played.
Angel Pagan’s arrival in San Francisco might change that. He likely won’t be an All Star caliber center fielder in San Francisco, but he could provide the Giants with steady production from the leadoff spot while playing solid defense in center. It might not sound like much, but he could be the jump start this Giants offense needs.
Pagan is a switch-hitter, although his splits suggest that might not be a great thing. Pagan has hit .289/.342/.428 against right-handed pitchers, but only .253/.305/.396 against lefties.
His ability to get on base could be a real asset, but his numbers for the past three seasons is cause for concern. His on-base percentage has dropped from .350 to .340 to .322 the past three seasons.
Last season was an all-around down year for Pagan, but injuries limited him so perhaps he’s due for a bounce back season.
What was impressive was Pagan’s 32 steals in only 478 at-bats. For comparison, Torres led the Giants in SBs last season with 19 in 348 at-bats. Speed is no doubt Pagan’s greatest asset. One the Giants haven’t had at their regular disposal since…oh, gross, really? Apparently since Dave Roberts‘ corpse swiped 31 bags back in 2007.
So yea, even though Angel Pagan doesn’t have to be the Giants’ best hitter, he’s a very exciting piece to this hypothetical puzzle.
Six home runs, 50 RBIs, 79 runs
Pagan’s speed plus AT&T’s outfield could mean triples galore.
And even if Pagan (who turns 31 in July) continues to decline he will probably still be better than the center field options the Giants had last season. And playing on a one-year deal, he’ll be gone come 2013.
Why so eager to get rid of him?
Gary Brown! Gary Brown!
Ok, so I’m easily excited. But Gary Brown brings something to the table no Giants prospect has in a while. He plays the outfield. The Giants outfield has been built on aging castoffs for quite some time. With the tacit exception of Nate Schierholtz (give him some love) no home-grown player has made a real impact in the Giants outfield for years.
I both want and think Gary Brown can be that guy.
He probably won’t get anything more than a September call-up this season, but the plan is for Brown to be the starting center fielder in 2013. And I know that because other people on the Internet have said so.
Like Pagan, Brown’s main weapon is his speed – which he has a lot of. Once called the white Usain Bolt (by me, just now), Brown torched the base paths in advanced A-ball last season. Brown stole 53 bases in 638 plate appearances. And just as good, he boasted a .407 on-base percentage with 14 home runs. Dude can do it all. After I’m done with this post I’m going to finish drawing hearts around Gary Brown’s name in my notebook.
If the Giants find themselves out of the playoff race come September, Brown’s cup of coffee is still worth not ending your life for.
14 home runs, 74 RBIs, 247 runs. Fine, maybe just 109 runs.
I’d expect his power to continue to develop a little, but these numbers don’t reflect that because of the month or so he’ll spend in the majors.
Can’t it be 2013 yet? Brown, Posey and Sandoval, all in the top half of the lineup. Yea, I’d watch that.
*Only according to law.