San Francisco Giants: Changes the team should make to keep up its winning ways

By Matthew Connolly
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Jul 7, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants outfielders Gregor Blanco (7) Angel Pagan (16) and Hunter Pence (8) celebrate their 3-0 win over the New York Mets at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Start Gregor Blanco over Angel Pagan  

It’s never easy to sit down a longtime starter, particularly one that’s meant as much to the Giants as Pagan has over the past several years, but the bottom line is that Gregor Blanco makes the team more competitive at the plate and in the field.

In his fourth season in orange and black, Blanco has played like he is tired of the “fourth outfielder” label, slashing a career-high .301/.376/.431. That slugging percentage is particularly impressive, as it shows Blanco is settling in as a better all-around hitter. Meanwhile, Pagan is homer-less through almost 400 at-bats, and boasts a career-low .318 slugging percentage. More importantly, he’s not getting on base enough to warrant everyday playing time, and can’t seem to get in a groove from the left side of the plate (.239 BA).

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Out in center, Pagan looks a step slower than we’ve seen him in years past despite offseason back surgery that he said made him feel “like never before.” As I mentioned in a previous post, the 34-year-old grades out as one of the worst center fielders in the game by almost all defensive measures. Blanco may be better suited for the corners, but he can still turn on the afterburners when the situation calls for it.

At the least, a platoon of Blanco (vs. righties) and Pagan (vs. lefties) would be a good place to start. Of course, the team still has a couple days to look for outside help. Speaking of which…

Next: On to third and final change