Can Angel Pagan Replace Carlos Beltran?
Most of the time when we read about Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez it is about some sort of new record or history in the making.
Last Monday, Rodriguez, 38, wrote another page to his illustrious career as he became the fifth catcher to reach 300 home runs in Major League history with a homer against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Rodriguez, who has hit .268 as the Washington Nationals’ primary catcher this season, is already the career leader in games, runs, hits, doubles, and extra-base hits by a catcher in the majors history.
No doubt the Puerto Rican native will someday be in the Hall of Fame, however, this season among Islanders, it is looking that Rodriguez is not the only one with good news to their fans.
Angel Pagan, 29, is a long way in comparison with Rodriguez or even fellow teammate Carlos Beltran, however, in this so far lowly Mets season he is doing an MVP job.
Pagan had played as a Gold Glover and offensively his bat had been hot all season long.
As of Tuesday, Pagan is the Mets’ leader and seventh in the National League in hitting with a .311 batting average.
He is also hitting 21 doubles, nine home runs with 58 runs scored, and 47 RBI.
Not bad for the five-year career major leaguer who was supposed to be a utility outfielder on a Jerry Manuel bench.
He became like a godsend for the Mets in center field with Carlos Beltran out.
Pagan is playing so well that some national columnists have suggested that Pagan could become one of the new faces of the future of the team.
Jon Heyman from Sports Illustrated even suggested in his latest column that Beltran could be traded before the August 31 waiver deadline.
In his column, Heyman wrote about Beltran as a great talent who is just back from his knee injury and has not yet showed his old form. He has a full no-trade clause but might be amenable to a deal after his winter disagreement with the team over the knee surgery that kept him out half the year. One more year left in the $119 million, seven-year deal he signed before the 2005 season.
During the San Juan (Puerto Rico) series between the Mets and the Florida Marlins where everybody was waiting to hear about Beltran, it was Manuel who had to shift the attention to his young outfielder, calling Pagan as one of the best stories of the 2010 season.
The Mets called the Commonwealth Island the “Bori-Mets” due to its number of Puerto Ricans in the lineup. Among them, Pagan, Beltran, Alex Cora, Jesus Feliciano, and Pedro Feliciano are all not doing so well as a whole.
Besides Pagan, the only other Puerto Rican offensive player doing well in the majors these days is Alexis Rios.
The White Sox center fielder is hitting .303 with 21 doubles, 17 homers, 63 runs scored, and 62 RBI.
If Pagan could become a perennial All-Star and a possible replacement of Beltran, time will tell if he has really been a shining Met.