Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Hot Stove Update: Free Agent Smackdown- Shane Victorino vs Angel Pagan
On one of the prior posts, the discussion took a turn toward debating the relative merits of two FA OF's on the market, Angel Pagan and Shane Victorino. Now, considering that Angel Pagan is coming off a season in which he was a major player leading the Giants to a World Series Championship while Shane Victorino has a long history of doing and saying things that Giants fans have come to despise him for, it might be hard to come up with any semblance of a rational discussion here, but it might be fun to try.
Victorino and Pagan are actually very similar players. They are both switch-hitting CF's with modest power and speed to steal bases. Victorino, who turns 32 yo in a few days is shorter at 5'9", 190 lbs. Pagan turns 32 yo next mid-season and stands 6'2", 200 lbs.
I'm going to post 3 stat lines for each player here, 2012, Career and Bill James 3013 Projection:
2012: .288/.338/.440, 659 PA, .329 BABIP, 7.3% BB, 14.7% K, 29 SB.
Career: .281/.333/.424, 2653 PA, .318 BABIP, 7.4% BB, 14.7 % K.
2013 Bill James: .277/.332/.403, 605 PA, .319 BABIP, 7.6% BB, 14.9% K, 27 SB.
2012: .255/.321/.383, 666 PA, .278 BABIP, 8% BB, 12% K, 39 SB.
Career: .275/.341/.430, 4295 PA, .296 BABIP, 7.8% BB, 11.6% K.
2013 Bill James: .269/.338/.418, 624 PA, .291 BABIP, 8.3% BB, 12.3% K, 29 SB.
Notice that Pagan had a 2012 BABIP about .010 higher than his career while Victorino's was about .020 below his career number. Now, I'm someone who believes that BABIP is a widely misunderstood, and misused statistic, but in this case, I think it is essential to the evaluation of these two players. BABIP does tend to regress to around .300 for most players. I have not done the exact calculations due to the constraints of time, but it appears to me from eyeballing it that the only difference between these two players last year is that one had a career low BABIP and the other's was above their career average. If you normalize these two player's BABIP's, which is a statistically sound thing to do, they are essentially the same player! Admittedly, Pagan has a career BABIP that is .022 higher than Victorino's. My answer to that is there is no obvious reason why Pagan would be expected to have a significantly higher BABIP than Victorino. They are both fast, so should beat out a similar number of IF hits. Pagan has a higher FB%, but that should, if anything, suppress his BABIP. Pagan has just a bit over half the career PA's and has had a couple of unusually high BABIP seasons. It is a reasonable bet that if Pagan had over 4000 PA's under his belt, he would be within .010 BABIP points of Victorino.
Conclusion: Shane Victorino and Angel Pagan should carry the same value in free agency. Whichever players can be signed for less is the better deal for the signing team. At the same signing price, one could be substituted for the other.