Ojeda Tabs Lagares As His Breakthrough Player for 2014

An article by posted on October 29, 2013

juan lagares

Nick asks…

Is Juan Lagares an everyday player? He seems more like a Endy Chavez defensive substitute type to me, but I keep hearing that he has a hold on the everyday center field job. Do you think his bat will develop or will we see the same offensive production we saw last season? Any idea what kind of numbers we should look forward to?

Teddy replies…

I don’t think Lagares is a defensive substitute at all. First of all, his defense is similar to Chavez, but I like to compare his defense to our 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.

His bat will play, it takes some rookies some time to adjust to the Majors. His bat is actually better than people think. In the upper minors, Juan Lagares hit for a .330 average in 739 at-bats. If believed this average is skewed by Vegas’s hitting grounds, don’t be deterred, only 78 at bats were at Vegas.

However, during those accumulated stats, Lagares only walked 48 times while striking out 136 times, but he did hit nine homers and 43 doubles during that span.

Jon Heyman reported that the Mets are very comfortable moving forward with Lagares as their everyday center fielder.

Additionally, when Bobby Ojeda was asked in an interview which player he expected to have a breakthrough season in 2014, he responded:

“Juan Lagares. I think you’ll see much more power out of his at bats. I think that’s something this ballclub needs on a consistent basis.”

Lagares could hit virtually .280 (his discipline would suggest he wouldn’t be able to sustain a higher average) with some home run power and a ton of doubles. He has yet to tap into his speed which is also a plus tool for him. Either way, that is an above-average outfielder, especially with his plus fielding saving the day in center.

I’ll take that any day, wouldn’t you?

About the Author ()

Teddy Klein is a Westchester Native, and New School Grad. He's a lifelong Mets fan with a background in minor league internships for scouting in both the Dominican Summer Leagues (08') and the Brooklyn Cyclones (10') with Cape Cod Baseball League sandwiched in between. Follow him on twitter @TK_MMO and feel free to leave questions below.

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