Monday, January 04, 2010

Francoeur and Pagan Platoon

Over at Amazin Avenue, James Kannengeiser looks at the splits to make an argument in favor of a Francoeur and Pagan platoon:

Using some rudimentary calculations, the Pagan/Francoeur platoon projects to produce something like this: .295/.345/.470, with upside based on each players' age and recent performance . . . This would almost certainly give the Mets above average offensive production from the right field position -- something they've lacked since 2006 . . . The biggest fear is that Pagan is relegated to Jeremy Reed duty while Francoeur grits his way to a .730 OPS.
Here at Fonzie Forever, we've been on that bandwagon for months already. Back in October, we pointed out that Angel Pagan was good enough to play every day:

Taken by itself, Angel Pagan's 2009 performance is MORE than enough to justify handing him a starting job in 2010. He hit .306/.350/.487, with 11 triples and 6 home runs in only 343 at bats. He struck out only 56 times and stole 14 bases compared to 7 caught. He is only 27 years old, entering his prime, and he is not yet a free agent. He played excellent defense, and is well-known for being the most athletic Met.
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I doubt many people see Pagan as an option, but I also think that not many people realize just how good he was this season. I think if people knew that by hitting .306 and playing excellent defense he provided almost as much value as Jason Bay did, they would think differently.
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I don't think it's crazy to expect Angel to be able to hit .280/.340/.460 this year at least (which would be a 37 point drop from his 2009 OPS). If he did, he'd be good enough to have the job, no doubt about it.

Then in December, while analyzing the Mets ZiPS projections, we opined that:
A short term solution like Delgado at first base, or perhaps a good platoon situation with Francoeur (who for his career has hit .298 against lefties) would help immensely.

Then later, while discussing cheap, available free agents, we again pointed out that Francoeur was an excellent candidate for a platoon partner:

Did anyone realize that Francoeur hit .344/.356/.521 for an 878 OPS against lefties last year? And has an 827 OPS against them for his career?

A Pagan and Francoeur platoon may already be in the works in real Mets-land. One can hope. In addition to keeping all four of our outfielders sharp, it helps us on one other VERY important real-life issue: Jeff Francoeur's contract. Francoeur made $3.37 million last year, is due a small raise this year, and will soon be owed even larger sums.

By playing him in a platoon, we may be able to either a) argue he is not a full-time ballplayer or b) by protecting him against tough righties, inflate his statistics to the point where he may become a valuable trade commodity. By playing Pagan only when Francoeur needs "rest" he could look way better without being actively platooned. Either way, we should be mindful that Fernando Martinez will be ready soon -- and that we do not need a third outfielder locked into his position for several years.

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