It’s only been six games for Juan Lagares who is working on his bat in the Dominican Winter League, but so far the early results have been incredible for the young center fielder.
Last night, Lagares went 3-for-4 with two RBI and two stolen bases to raise his average to .375 for the season with a .777 OPS.
The Dominican native has hit in six straight games for Las Aguilas and has eleven hits in his last twenty at-bats. Lagares is batting third in the lineup as his team takes advantage of his ability to spray the ball to all fields, make solid contact, and produce runs.
Like all rookies, Lagares had his highs and lows at the plate last season, but the team loves his coachability and his thirst to improve.
I’ve always seen Lagares as the center fielder of the future for the Mets after falling in love with his bat in 2010 and then his defense in 2011.
There are many who predict his power to increase and for him to start utilizing his plus-speed more on the basepaths. He’s one of the few Mets who have a controlled aggressiveness at the plate and has the potential to become a catalyst in the lineup.
Defensively, he is already considered among the best center fielders in the game, accumulating 26 Defensive Runs Saved in barely two-thirds of a season as an everyday player. His 21.5 UZR is off the charts.
As our own former Mets scouting assistant Teddy Klein told us, Lagares’ defense is comparable to a young version of Carlos Beltran. “He just doesn’t give much away except the impossible, and he glides to the ball. It’s like an art to me, just watching his routes.”
The Mets have said they are very comfortable with Lagares as their everyday center fielder and some in the organization expect him to have a breakthrough season in 2014.
What he’s doing right now in Winter Ball is exciting to say the least.
How many days until pitchers and catchers report? 🙂
Thoughts from Satish R.
Juan Lagares is, quite honestly, the best defensive player I’ve seen in a Mets uniform since Carlos Beltran. If he can improve his offensive ability to about average, he could end up being a lead-off hitter someday. He’s got incredible speed and the potential to steal about 30 bases or so with a healthy OBP. The potential that he still possesses, being only 24 years old, makes me salivate. He’s already the best defensive center fielder in the MLB in my eyes, but I am just a little biased…
We’ll be keeping tabs on all our player performances in Winter ball, so keep checking MMN for updates.