Nieuwenhuis Optioned To Vegas, Lagares To Make His MLB Debut

An article by posted on April 23, 2013
Juan Lagares Is Legit – (Photo by Gordon Donovan)

Updated 2:30 PM

Whatever I said below, it’s now official…

Updated at 11:30 PM

Outfield prospect Juan Lagares, who is tearing up the Pacific Coast League, likely will join the Mets as soon as Tuesday, baseball sources told ESPN New York.

Lagares, 24, is hitting .346 with three homers and nine RBIs through 78 at-bats with Triple-A Las Vegas. All 17 of his appearances with the 51s have been in center field. He also has experience.

See you again soon, Kirk… Nice getting to know you…

I’m getting really good at this….

Original Post 3:00 PM 

Prospect Spotlight: Juan Lagares Is Finally Getting His Due

When we did our MMO Top 25 Prospects back in January, we caught some flack for including outfielder Juan Lagares at No. 21.

Some of the blowback we received on Twitter and in our threads included some of these gems:

  • Anyone can do a top ten, that’s easy. You need to really know the system to start doing top 25. Putting Lagaras anywhere on it speaks volumes. Having him at 21 is nuts. (Umm it’s Lagares, not Lagaras.)
  • The fact you’re the only site that has him ranked in the top 25 doesn’t say much for your analysis, Lagares sucks.

After we finished releasing out MMO Top 25, several other sites rolled out their own Prospect Rankings weeks later and aside from Mack’s Mets and Toby Hyde, Juan Lagares was included in everyone else’s Top 25 including Amazin Avenue, Jonathan Mayo, and John Sickels (Top 20, but had Lagares among honorable mentions).

Here is our original MMO Profile:

21. Juan Lagares, OF

Height: 6’1″
Weight: 175 LBS
Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Juan Lagares had a monster season in 2011 and followed it up with a good season at Binghamton hitting .283 with some improvement in his plate discipline and his continuing ability at playing CF. Lagares’ value at this point is held to which position on the field he will play because despite the high batting average, Lagares doesn’t exhibit the type of power you would expect from a corner outfielder. Expectations would see Lagares going to Las Vegas for the 2013 season to either start in CF if possible, otherwise playing a corner and proving his bat is solid

Outlook: Lagares can hit but the only downside is the tweener label at this point and value that goes to each position. The Mets outfield at this point is so devoid of right-handed bats, if Lagares came up to the Mets for the 2013 season I would not be surprised in the least bit. That being said, I think Lagares gets 400+ AB in Las Vegas, playing all three OF spots and makes the big club by September 2013 for a tryout for 2014.

In one of my replies to one of those commenters, I wrote the following about Lagares sucking:

Not according to what Paul DePodesta had to say about him yesterday, when he said Lagares will most likely make his MLB debut in 2013. (That was based on comments DePo made at a Citi Field event back in January.)

Even before Travis d’Arnaud injured his ankle, the top slugger on the Triple-A Las Vegas squad was and continues to be Juan Lagares and my other MMO fave, Josh Satin.

Lagares is swinging a .346 bat to lead the 51s with a .378 On-Base, .551 Slugging and a .929 OPS. In 17 games played he has three doubles, two triples and three home runs to go with 13 runs scored and nine driven in.

As we projected, Lagares is Wally Backman‘s leadoff man and with the injury to Matt den Dekker he has started every game in center field where he ranks third in the PCL in range factor and fifth in fielding percentage. He leads the team in putouts and has already had his arm tested, accumulating four outfield assists in barely two weeks.

Is this a fluke? Not really, in 2011 – and in a not so hitter-friendly league – Lagares batted .370/.391/.512 for Double-A Binghamton in 170 plate appearances. Combined with St. Lucie that season he hit .349 in 550 Plate appearances.

Last season toolsy outfielder produced at a .287 clip and some people were already willing to toss him into the wood chipper. What also gets overlooked is Lagares’ speed and in the last three seasons he has stolen 21, 15 and 25 bases.

I feel strongly that unless Collin Cowgill gets that on-base percentage significantly over .200 real quick, Juan Lagares will be promoted from Las Vegas to fill the void and see plenty of time batting leadoff for the Mets. His right-handed bat would pair very well with Jordany Valdespin as a platoon in center field.

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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