It’s time for Bruce Bochy to use some of his mixing and matching skills with Angel Pagan, whose struggling mightily at the plate. The former Met hit an astounding .375 in May, but the summer has brought everything but astounding numbers for Pagan. He hit .245 in June, and while we’re only halfway through July, Pagan is hitting just .229. To make matters even worse, his on-base percentage has crept below .300 in July as well. And for speedsters such as Pagan, an OBP below .310 is simply atrocious.
The leadoff spot is still Gregor Blanco’s to lose in a sense, but with his ongoing struggles, all signs point to a change if he keeps up his woes. This will leave a vacancy. And Pagan should undoubtedly be next in line to fill the gap. Sure, he struggled to find his stroke in the exact same role earlier this season as he posted a .241/.261/.420 slash, but things have changed. His level confidence is up, he feels comfortable in what was a new clubhouse to him earlier on, and he’s made minor tweaks to his swing that has allowed him to find success while hitting outside of the leadoff spot.
So why not try it again?
Why not? There’s no reason for Bruce Bochy to not even give the experiment a second chance, as Pagan couldn’t possibly do worse than Blanco has done in the past month. To put things into perspective, Pagan has posted a .560 OPS in his past 20 games compared to Blanco’s .543 OPS in his last 19 games. While both numbers are well below average, Pagan has been slightly better.
In addition, Pagan has more experience in the leadoff role than Blanco does. So far, the former Met has batted leadoff in 178 games during his five year career, while the speedy Blanco has started just 60 games in the leadoff spot. It’s kind of cliche, but experience does matter when the pressure of crucial late season and postseason games amount.
Plus, moving Blanco down would balance out the Giants lineup. Brandon Belt would most likely shift up to the sixth spot, Brandon Crawford could move up to the seventh spot and see better pitches, then Blanco could slide over to the eighth spot and provide a spark plug to the bottom of the lineup.
Maybe Bochy could even take a page out of Tony LaRusss’a book and bat the pitcher eighth and have Blanco bat ninth. The speedy duo of Pagan and Blanco would then be hitting back to back, and between them, they have stolen 31 bases. When they are both getting on base consistently, Bochy could use small ball tactics to manufacture runs.
Best of all, this lineup move could possibly ignite the Giants’ offense without having to make a trade. It’s all within the club. And if it doesn’t work, Pagan and Blanco would just slide back over to their original lineup spots. Whatever it takes to get them going needs to be done, though, because having speedsters on the base paths creates havoc, and havoc turns into runs. And with the lack of power the Giants offense consists of, speed is a vital facet to putting runs on the board.