I find it so strange that two of the team’s top MLB-ready position prospects – Wilmer Flores and Juan Lagares – are also the two players who stand to lose significant playing time in 2014, according to statements made by the front office and just the buzz we heard in Orlando.
Both players have done a solid job at Winter Ball with Lagares posting a .342/.379/.412 batting line in 114 DWL at-bats, and Flores with an even more impressive .391/.463/.478 batting line in 46 at-bats in the VWL.
What else these two have to prove at this point in Triple-A (where each excelled already) is beyond my understanding. And yet there’s as good a chance that either will start the season in Las Vegas than the New York Mets. One person I spoke to said it’s 50/50 for both of them at this point. Sounds like easy money to be made at some live casinos.
For Lagares, it comes down to the possibility of losing his everyday job to newly acquired Chris Young as the Mets are intent on playing Eric Young Jr. everyday in 2014, according to what two different Mets people told us at the Winter Meetings.
The team sees EY as not only an everyday contributor, but their best leadoff candidate despite an on-base that barely clears .300. Rather than have the young Lagares squander on the bench, they’d rather have him play everyday for Wally Backman. I guess that’s understandable, but I don’t have to like it.
In Flores’ case, we didn’t hear much on him in Orlando, but the Mets clearly don’t want to trade Daniel Murphy and there’s already a glut at first base which means a one-way ticket to the Nevada desert for the most exciting of the two offensively.
In September, I would have guessed that both Lagares and Flores would be locks for an everyday job in 2014, now they may not even hang on for a bench spot. But that’s the way the ball bounces in Flushing… Always unpredictable…