Chicago Cubs A+ Hitter of the week: OF Ezequiel Pagan (22 Years Old)
.316/.364/.474 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1-1 SB
The slash line is pretty ordinary and so are the counting categories. That being said, Pagan stood out on a team that was offensively inept all week. He was the only player with a batting average above .235. He was the only player with a slugging percentage over .400, and he was the only player on this offense with a home run this week.
The question becomes: is Ezequiel Pagan truly the best player at this level for the Cubs and I think we can say no relatively easily. This level has James Triantos, the Cubs 2021 second-round pick, and Kevin Alcantara who the Cubs got in the Anthony Rizzo trade. Both of those players have a significantly higher upside than Pagan as they’re both top ten prospects in the Cubs system according to MLB.com after the graduation of Matt Mervis and Pagan doesn’t even find his name in the top 30.
However, there is something to be said about production. The 2018 13th-round pick out of the Puerto Rico ProBaseball Academy has consistently done everything right this year. He’s carrying a slash line on the season of .371/.426/.515. He’s not a big guy at 5’9, 163 pounds, but he controls the strike zone and only strikes out about 15% of the time according to FanGraphs. We’d love to see him draw a few more walks as he only does that about 7% of the time, but there is a reasonable amount of upside here.
His wRC+ this season is 172 with the average player carrying a wRC+ of 100. The only thing that is a little concerning and could lead to Pagan coming back down to earth is the .430 BABIP. It would be less concerning if his numbers were less predicated on balls in play but because he walks so little and doesn’t have huge power (only a .144 ISO) that leads me to think that if he stops getting lucky on balls in play then the numbers will look a lot more pedestrian.