Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 2/12/13
The San Francisco Giants decided to bring back the core of players that carried them to the 2012 World Championship. Angel Pagan was one of those players.It took Pagan a long time to finally earn a full-time job in the majors as his age-31 season in 2013 will be just his fourth full year, but don’t hold that against him. He makes living mostly with his legs and has developed a reputation as one of the best baserunners in baseball — last year only Mike Trout, Jimmy Rollins, and Alcides Escobar contributed more runs above average on the base paths than Pagan’s 8.3 mark.And despite the fact that Pagan is getting older (sigh, aren’t we all) one could make an argument that he’s actually getting faster. Now, I don’t know of a site that tracks players’ 40-times or their speed from home to first, but I do know of a couple measurable stats that bear this out: triples, infield hit rate, stolen bases, and speed score (sort of a catch-all stat). Pagan’s 15 triples last year were a career high as was his 9.4% his infield hit rate, which has been on the rise for the last few seasons after spending his first five seasons in the low 7.0s.While Pagan’s stolen base total last year was down a little by 2010 and 2011 standards, his .152 ISO in 2012 was his easily his best in the last three years, which means he hit himself onto second and third more than in the prior two seasons and, subsequently, out of stolen base territory. As for speed score, his 7.8 rate last year was better than his 6.7 and 6.9 rates in 2010 and 2011, respectively. You know, if you believe in that sort of thing. At a GlanceStrengths: R, SBNeutral: BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, CS, net SBWeaknesses: HR, RBIPlayer ComparisonsBest-case scenario: Jose Reyes (TOR)Likely scenario: Norichika Aoki (MIL), Alejandro De Aza (CHW), Ichiro Suzuki (NYY)Worst-case scenario: Starling Marte (PIT)Angel Pagan 2013 Fantasy ProjectionPagan might challenge Adam LaRoche for the title of “Most Underrated Fantasy Player Who Continues to Produce on a Yearly Basis.” In the last three years Pagan has ranked 28th, 111th, and 50th, and that 111 ranking came in just 123 games played.And, once again, Pagan isn’t getting the love he deserves with a MockDraftCentral.com ADP of 111.7. Over the last three years Pagan’s 98 total steals rank 10th in the majors and over that span he’s averaged a hair over 88 runs per 150 games. As I said in the intro, he’s as fast as ever and I’d expect steals and runs to again be his strengths. With line drive rates over 20% in four of the last five years Pagan has consistently contributed in batting average, and there’s little reason to expect any different from him this year.
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