Sandy Alderson, who was a guest of Mike Francesa on on Tuesday, said Mets center fielder Juan Lagares will be in center field when he was asked to clear up this whole center field confusion.
He told Francesa that Chris Young was promised some at-bats early in the season to show he can hit righthanded pitching and that he was not told he’d be the center fielder. “He wasn’t signed to be a center fielder,” Alderson said.
However, he added that this is spring training and anything can happen once they start to play the games.
Alderson is very concerned about Lagares’ on-base percentage but was hopeful after watching him have a strong Winter Ball where he batted .342/.379/.412 in the DSL. He said his wish is to see Lagares carry that performance over to the Spring.
During the 2013 regular season, Lagares finished with a .242/.281/.352 batting line, but showed signs of spraying the ball to all field and making contact.
In another interview this offseason, Alderson pointed toward Lagares’ progression.
“Juan is trying to adapt. It’s very important to look at things below the surface. A lot can be predicted about a hitter based on when he hits in the count, early in the count or late in the count. You probably remember from last year, he was behind in the count all the time. He’s trying to make adjustments, mentally. It’s not about drawing walks, it’s about getting into hitter’s counts.”
“Another thing is that Lagares has a knack for making contact, even behind in the count. There’s not a lot of power there right now, but he definitely made an improvement as the season went on.”
I believe Lagares is going to break out in a big way this season offensively. It should be fun to watch.