Jul 4, 2016

Former Mets Outfielder: Angel Pagan (2008-2011)

Angel Anthony Pagan was born July 2, 1981 in Rio Piedra, Puerto Rico. The six foot two, switch hitting Pagan nicknamed Crazy Horse, was originally signed by the New York Mets in the fourth round of the 1999 draft.

In 2001 he led the New York Penn. League in stolen bases with 30 (tied) while playing for the A ball Brooklyn Cyclones. In Brooklyn he hit .315 making the All Star team & being ranked the #16 prospect in the league by Baseball America.

In 2002 Pagan stole 52 bases while batting .279 with the A ball, St. Lucie Mets. The next season he struggled with an off year, but rebounded in 2004 now at AA Binghamton.

He hit .288 with 29 stolen bases, only getting thrown out five times. In 2005 he hit ten triples, stole 27 bases & batted .271 while playing outfield for the AAA Norfolk Tides. He did not get a call up to the Mets team which surprised him & that off season had his contract bought out by the Chicago Cubs.

He made the Cubs squad in 2006, but an injury early on shut him down until the end of June. On July 2nd he became the first player in MLB history to hit his first two career HRs on his own birthday, his 25th. The HRs came at Wrigley Field off Cliff Polite, in a 15-11 slug fest with the cross town rival Chicago White Sox during interleague play. In 77 games that season, he hit .247 with five HRs 18 RBIs & four stolen bases.

In 2007 he became the Cubs everyday outfielder, but he suffered from colitis & his season was cut short once again. In 71 games he batted .264 with 4 HRs 10 doubles four stolen bases & 21 RBIs. In January of 2008, the Cubs traded him back to the New York Mets for two minor leaguers.

After a good Spring Training in 2008, he earned a spot in left field filling in for the injured Moises Alou. Pagan was in the Mets '08 Opening Day lineup batting 6th & playing left field. He hit a double & drove in a run in the Mets 7-2 win over the Marlins at Florida. He had a hot start, hitting safely in eleven of his first twelve games, driving in runs in seven of them.

On April 10th, his 12th inning base hit off the Phillies Tom Gordon, was a walk off win for New York. In mid May he caught a foul ball jumping & landing in the seats at Dodger Stadium. A few days later he ended up on the DL, and then reinjured himself while attempting to make a return.

Pagan needed shoulder surgery was shut down for the rest of the season. He finished up the year with a .275 average, no HRs, seven doubles, no steals & 13 RBIs in only 31 games played.

Drama: In early May of 2009 he was arrested in Port St. Lucie Florida for driving with a suspended license & having unpaid traffic violations.

In 2009 he started out the season on the DL once again, this time with bone spurs. He finally joined the team in mid May. In his third game back, he had a four hit day in Los Angeles in a 3-2 Met loss & then went on a hot streak.

Pagan was batting .333 after two weeks upon his return, but then pulled a groin muscle and missed the next six weeks of action. He returned on July 10th & stayed in the lineup for the rest of the year, seeing regular playing time due to all the other team injures.

On August 1st he hit a grand slam HR, helping the Mets beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-6 at Citi Field. During that week he hit another HR & had a three hit, four RBI day against the St. Louis Cardinals.

On August 23rd at Philadelphia, he hit an inside the park HR & then another, HR over the fence, against former Mets pitcher, Pedro Martinez. Pagan got his average to .294 by the end of the month.

He went on ten game hit streak & had thirteen multiple hit games that September.

He finished the year leading the team in triples with ten. He batted .306 with 22 doubles 14 stolen bases 6 HRs 32 RBIs & a .350 on base %. He played a solid defense as well, making only two errors in the outfield, posting a .989 fielding percentage.

On Opening Day 2010 Pagan was not in the lineup, as Gary Mathews Jr. got the start. But his stay in New York was brief & Pagan soon took over the outfield. He saw a lot of action, as he filled in for the injured Carlos Beltran who would not return until mid summer.

Pagan was soon one of the Mets best hitters, especially with runners in scoring position. He became one of the league’s biggest base stealing threats & played a fine outfield as well.

In April he had four multi RBI games, but was only hitting .257 at the end of April. In May he went on a hot streak, as he hit safely in 22 of 27 games getting up to a .292 average. On May 19th in a 5-3 loss at Washington, Pagan hit an inside the park HR off Livan Hernandez. He then started a rare triple play with a catch in centerfield & throw to the plate nailing Livan Hernandez at home. From there catcher Henry Blanco, threw out Nyjer Morgan at first.

On June 16th, During interleague play, Pagan helped Johan Santana to an 8-4 win over the Tribe in Cleveland with two hits & a three RBI day.

Two days later, he doubled off Chan Ho Park, driving in two runs, helping the Mets & pitchers Hisanori Takahasshi (six innings) Pedro Feliciano (two innings) & Francisco Rodriguez (one inning) to a 4-0 shutout win in the subway series. Then the next week when the Detroit Tigers came to town, he had a four hit day driving in four runs in the Mets 14-6 win.

By the All Star break he was leading the team in batting, hitting .315. When Beltran returned, Pagan took over right field for the departed Jeff Francouer. After the break he hit HRs in back to back losses to the D-backs in Arizona, as he also drove in runs in four straight games.

By the end of July he was batting a season high .313. On a September home stand he had twelve hits; including a three game stretch against the Pittsburgh Pirates where he had eight hits drove in seven runs. On September 14th he hit three doubles in a game& walked three times as well.

He finished the year batting .294 with 37 stolen bases (second in the NL). He also hit 11 HRs with seven triples (8th in the NL) 31 doubles & 69 RBIs.

In the outfield he led all centerfielders in errors (10) but was 3rd in put outs (129) & his ten assists were third most among all outfielders.

In 2011 with Carlos Beltrans health being an issue once again, Pagan was given the starting centerfield job by new manager Terry Collins. He had a slow start batting just .159 when he went down with an injury on April 21st. He missed over a month of action, returning to the line up on May 27th at Citi Field.

He went on an eight game hitting streak, hitting safely in 13 of 14 while raising his average eighty five points by the end of June.

On July 20th, he hit a walk off HR against Fernando Salas, to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-5. The previous day he had a bases loaded double, helping the Mets to a 5-3 victory.

 That week he drove in runs in nine of thirteen games. At the end of July the Mets went on a four game win streak, sweeping the Reds in a three game series, with Pagan driving in runs in all four games. In August he had a ten game hit streak & then hit safely in eight of ten games.

On August 17th, he had a two hit, three RBI day to help New York beat the Padres 7-3 in San Diego. Pagan had a decent month of September finishing up the year for the fourth place Mets, batting .320 with 7 HRs 24 doubles 4 triples 32 stolen bases a .322 on base % & 56 RBIs in 123 games.

In the outfield he led all centerfielders in errors with ten while making seven assists (5th in the NL).

In December 2011 he was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Andres Torres & Ramon Ramirez. With the 2012 World Champion Giants he became the teams main centerfielder replacing Torres who never quite made it in New York. Pagan went on to lead the NL with 15 triples, batting .288 with 38 doubles 8 HRs & 56 RBIs. In center he made five errors with seven assists & 377 put outs all second most in the league.

The Angel Pagan Salute: His dedicated style of play quickly led to him becoming a popular player in San Francisco. His team mates respected his style of play & when they rooted for him, he started the now famous Angel Pagan Salute.

Quotes: "Every time I get on base my teammates cheer for me, so by doing that I'm thanking them," Pagan said. "And it's also a way to commemorate my dad (Angel Sr.), may he rest in peace. He spent a lot of years in the army, and he taught me how to be a respectful person. So that salute has a lot of meaning for me."

Post Season: In the NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds, he hit just .150 but did have two key hits. In Game #3 he tied the game with a third inning sac fly, the Giants went on to a 2-1 win.

In the next game he hit a two run HR in the Giants 8-3 win, as they tied the series. In the NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, he hit another HR & batted .242 with a pair of RBIs.

In the World Series sweep of the Detroit Tigers Pagan hit .125. In Game #1 he hit a soft liner that bounced off the third base bag, getting him a double off Justin Verlander, he then scored on Marco Scutaro' double. In the off season he signed a four year deal to remain with the Giants.

In 2013 he was batting .262 before going on the DL in late May. Just before going on the DL, he became the first player in nine years to end the game with a walk off inside the park HR. It came in extra innings against the Colorado Rockies on May 25th.

Pagan returned two months later on August 30th. He finished the year batting .282 with 5 HRs 16 doubles & 30 RBIs.

In 2014 he was back as the staring center fielder with the World Champion Giants who won their third Championship in five years . He missed two months of time from June to early August with injuries & then went down again in mid September which caused him to miss the entire post season. He batted .300 in 96 games with 21 doubles & 56 runs scored.

He returned for 133 games in 2015, missing time on the DL in August. That season he batted for the lowest average he had had since leaving the Mets in 2011 (.262). The Giants finished second & did not make the post season. After getting arthroscopic knee surgery in the off season, he has returned to centerfield in 2016 as well batting .280 into June.

 In his eleven year career (through early June 2016) Pagan is a .280 hitter with 1039 hits 201 doubles 51 triples 54 HRs 37 RBIs & a .330 on base %.

In the outfield (963 games) he has 41 assists turning 9 double plays with 34 errors & a .934 fielding %.

Family: Angels is a dedicated family man, he & his wife have two daughters.

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