Hitter of the week: OF Ezequiel Pagan (22 Years Old)
.367/.437/.489 5 2B, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 11 R, 2-6 SB
Ezequiel Pagan is another player that’s received plenty of publicity in the minor league recaps recently and was the South Bend hitter of the week for last week. He’s been consistently great all season so far, and his batting average has not dipped below .366 at any point. As Jed Hoyer said in a recent interview, “It’s not early forever.”
In that interview, Hoyer was talking about the fact that the major league squad had a May that was only better than the Oakland A’s, but it can be true in a positive light as well. I pointed out earlier this week that Pagan is benefitting greatly from an unrealistically high BABIP, but at what point does it stop being luck and start being a skill?
As stated in reference to why Jake Slaughter made the list, results do matter. Fans across all sports have been brainwashed into believing in “the process.” The 76ers in the NBA tanked for years so that they could have the honor of drafting Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz. The Chicago Blackhawks tanked at the end of this season to end up with the crown jewel of recent memory in the NHL Draft, Connor Bedard. And our own Chicago Cubs have made us sit through two full-scale rebuilds in a decade.
You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a fanbase more patient than the Cubs, but at some point, we have to see it with our own eyes. I have friends that hate the “eye test,” and prefer the safety of numbers. In most cases, I’d agree because we aren’t professionals, and what our eyes see doesn’t necessarily mean anything. However, in some cases, we have to take it into account. If you have tremendous exit velocities and incredible launch angles and a spectacular ability to only swing at pitches in the zone, chances are you’ll translate that into wins for your team in the form of scoring or driving in runs. But at the point in which the final result we want is to score or drive in runs, then it’s important to look at who is actually doing that and Ezequiel Pagan is that guy right now.
One area I’d like to see Pagan improve is to pick his spots a little more selectively for stealing bases and increase his SB percentage. Going 2-6 isn’t going to cut it at High-A and it certainly won’t cut it as he begins to play against better competition.