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?