Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Juan Lagares Must Be Mets Starting Centerfielder

If you check the depth chart on you will see Juan Lagares listed as the top centerfielder on the club, and that is exactly what he should be when the season starts.

Lagares broke into the Majors last season last season for a Mets team that was completely barren in the outfield and was extremely impressive. Usually when a young player makes his impression on the fan base it is by proving what he can do with the bat, Lagares became one of the few players that Mets fans were excited to watch every day, but he was doing it by taking runs away, not by driving them in.

Not only was he taking runs away, he was taking them away routinely. He was making spectacular catches on a regular basis, and maybe more impressively, making difficult plays look simple.

The Mets outfield situation is drastically different than it was last year when Lagares was called up from AAA, trading for Eric Young Jr. last season and bringing in veterans Chris Young and Curtis Granderson via free agency, but Lagares has to be the Mets centerfielder. Granderson played the bulk of his career in centerfield but was not brought in to play at position for the Mets, he will be their everyday left fielder, and both Eric and Chris Young are capable can handle the position, but not as well as Lagares.

The question with Lagares is whether or not he could hit enough to play every day. This spring he has hit enough to earn the job out of the gate. He has a .302 average and .362 OBP in 53 AB. If he can come close to that production during the season the Mets can not afford to have him on the bench.

I don’t want to overstate Lagares’ talents, he has only played 121 games in the big leagues, but he very well may be the best defensive centerfielder the team has had in more than a decade; and that’s saying a lot considering the Mets have had stellar defensive play from Carlos Beltran and Mike Cameron in that time. The kid is that good.

He may not ever become an all-star, but he’s a player that gets your attention almost every game. How many Mets position players can make that claim?



Tags: Juan Lagares New York Mets

  • Eric Kench

    Not a chance in hell. Lagares’s days as the starting centerfielder were numbered as soon as Chris Young was signed.

    • stealthird17

      Agreed. It’s all about management spending millions. We know they are smart investors.

    • Victor Chu

      EK – are you sure about that? If anything, EY, Jr.’s days are numbered (or at least reduced) … I think Granderson and CY will get regular starting time, but we will see something of a platoon between EY and Lagares, until one stands out (or flops) offensively when he is on the field … while Terrry loves EY’s speed, I don’t think he will leave Lagares on the bench all the time …

      • Eric Kench

        They’re not gonna bench the NL stolen base leader.

        • Victor Chu

          I didn’t say the Mets were going to bench him … however, he will not get regular starting time if he hits less than .250 and has an OBP of .300 or less … or, even if he is at .251/.318 like last year. If he can get to an OBP of .340, then I can see him being a regular starter between LF and subbing for Murph at 2B once in a while.

  • stealthird17

    You are absolutely right as always. Hitting .350 in the spring means absolutely nothing. Nor does double digit homers and good defense the last few years.