Fans should know one truth about players who say they do not look at their stats.
They look at their stats.
Even if they are team-first players, they know where their numbers stand against the best in the game.
Take Angel Pagan. In a recent conversation he knew precisely how many runs he scored last year, 95. One hundred is the gold standard for runs and Pagan would like to get there in 2013, though he expressed no disappointment that he fell five short in a World Series championship year.
"I think the 95 runs I scored were productive for the team," he said. "Obviously, when you're a leadoff hitter at the top of the lineup, a speed guy, a great number for you to have is triple-digits. I also was going into free agency so it would have been good for me, but for me it's about helping the team. I know if I steal a base and touch home plate I'm helping the team."
And the team will need to help Pagan get to 100 runs because he is not going to drive himself in too often. He hit eight home runs last year.
This is where his top-of-the-order partner becomes so important.
In Pagan and Marco Scutaro the Giants have a speed guy followed by a player with good bat control. If Pagan drew more walks - he had 48 last year - they could be considered a classic 1-2 combo.
They have developed a rapport that illustrates how baseball is a game of individual matchups within a team sport.
When Pagan reaches base, Scutaro's principal task is moving him into position to score on a hit by Pablo Sandoval or Buster Posey. Scutaro's toolbox contains more than bunts, a hit-and-run swing and groundballs to the right side when Pagan is on second base.

Read more: