San Francisco Giants center fielder Angel Pagan was the catalyst for this team in 2012 igniting a spark that jump started the lineup with his power and speed throughout the whole season.
Pagan made a great first impression with Giants fans early in the season setting a Giants home record for hitting in 28 straight home games and producing a 20-game hitting streak lasting from April 14-May 6. He batted an incredible .375 in the month of May before cooling off the next two months.
The Giants hit a bump in the road during the end of July and early August finishing a 10-game homestand at 3-7. The team was faulting and a change was needed as the team embarked on a seven-game road trip. Manager Bruce Bochy altered the lineup putting Pagan back at the leadoff spot in the lineup hoping to generate some new energy. The team took off from that point on August 3 facing the Colorado Rockies never looking back. Including the postseason, the team finished the year going 48-24 with Pagan as the leadoff hitter.
He excelled terrifically in the month of August batting .342 hammering out 39 hits, scoring 32 runs, 11 doubles, four triples, three homers, 15 RBI's, 15 walks and six stolen bases in 29 games. He had a .415 on-base percentage and .588 slugging percentage reaching a 1.003 OPS. The Giants season was transformed in August carrying that wave of momentum the rest of the way. Pagan had 49 multi-hit games, eight three-hit games and two four-hit games during the season.
He finished the season batting .288 smacking 174 hits, scoring 95 runs, 38 doubles, 15 triples, eight homers, 56 RBI's, 48 walks and 29 stolen bases in 154 games. He showcased a .338 on-base percentage and .440 slugging percentage totaling a .778 OPS. The 15 triples led all of baseball setting a new Giants franchise record breaking Willie Mays (1960) and Steve Finley's (2006) record of 12 in a season. Pagan was clutch with runners in scoring position batting .298 connecting with 39 hits and 48 RBI's in 131 at-bats.
He started 148 games in center field committing just five errors finishing the year with a .987 fielding percentage.
Pagan was great in the postseason batting .188 drilling 13 hits, three doubles, one triple, two homers, six RBI's and four walks in 16 games. The switch-hitter recorded five multi-hit games and didn't commit an error in the postseason. After the Giants staved off elimination in Game 3 of the Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds, it was Pagan who ignited the team once again leading off Game 4 with a homerun embarking the Giants on an incredible run. Pagan recorded the first Giants leadoff homer in postseason history and led off Game 2 of the Championship Series with another homer facing the St. Louis Cardinals. He became the second player in MLB history to hit two leadoff homers in the same postseason joining Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008. Both Pagan and Rollins were instrumental in their teams championship run.
Resigning Pagan is a major priority for the Giants this offseason and I'm sure management will do whatever it takes to keep Pagan in the orange and black colors for the next few years. Pagan is deserving of a major raise taking his game to another level this season helping the Giants win another championship with his stellar play. Pagan represents all that's good in baseball and Giants fans will always appreciate his contributions in 2012.Tags: Baseball, MLB, San Francisco, San Francisco Giants