How Juan Lagares Is Worth More Runs Than Eric Young, Jr.

juan lagares

Plenty has been said about who the Mets should have lead-off in their 2014 batting order. It seems like Eric Young, Jr. is the leading candidate, with his candidacy coming at the possible expense of defensive extraordinaire Juan Lagares. Mets fans have voiced their frustration about this on Twitter. It is time to take a look at how the Mets may be overstating the importance of a lead-off hitter in context of the defense it may cost in juggling the lineup to accommodate one.

For this analysis, we will make some basic assumptions. We are going to compare Eric Young, Jr. as a lead-off hitter versus Juan Lagares as a defensive guru in terms of runs. We will assume that everything that the two players do is equal other than on-base-percentage and defense. This way we can isolate the effects of each player’s role on the overall team.

Beginning with on-base-percentage, it is only common sense to understand that lead-off hitters are expected to get on base. They set the table. They get things going. Whatever cliche you want to use. The more times a lead-off hitter gets on base, the more opportunity the hitters behind him have a chance to drive in runs. Of course, there are other factors synonymous with a lead-off hitter – patient hitters, contact hitters, speed players – but each title coincides with the central theme that it is the player who bat’s first role to get on base, and then in position to score runs.

Last season, Shin-Soo Choo got on base more than any other player out of the first batting position. His .432 OBP was thirty-four points higher than the next closest player, Matt Carpenter. Eric Young had the second lowest on-base-percentage of qualified (at least 350 PAs) lead-off hitters last season with a .318 rate. That means out of 100 plate appearances, Choo was able to get on base nearly twelve extra times than Young.

Of course, getting on base doesn’t guarantee a run. Someone has to drive you home. Using the league average runs scored percentage, which measure the percentage of times a baserunner scores once reaching base, of 29%, for the 11.4 extra times per 100 plate appearances that Choo got on base last season, he would have scored roughly 3.3 extra runs than Young. Multiply that over 500 plate appearances, and the difference between a Shin-Soo Choo OBP in the lead-off role versus Eric Young, Jr.’s equates into 16.5 extra runs scored.

That brings us to the defensive guru. Juan Lagares ranked 6th in baseball for the highest number of defensive runs saved (DRS) for any positional player with at least 800 innings in the field last season. What does that mean?

Until MLB Advanced Media releases their cutting edge data on defensive value to find a true indication, DRS from The Fielding Bible is one of the best metrics available to measure a player’s contributions from defense. It uses Baseball Info Solutions to calculate the results, meaning it is based on human scorers. To save on the long explanation (those interested can find more detail here), DRS rates players based on their ability to field plays above or below league average. There are several factors considered – including the player’s arm and glove – that make up a total value that equates into how many runs a player saved or hurt his team in the field compared to league average.

Juan Lagares saved 26 runs last season as the Mets center fielder. In comparison, Eric Young, with only 8% less innings, saved only 3 runs in the field. A 23 run difference. That means the difference between Juan Lagares in the field and Eric Young is greater in terms of runs saved than the difference between Eric Young and the league’s best lead-off hitter, Shin-Soo Choo, in terms of added runs scored. With Choo’s OBP, and assuming a league-average RS% of 29%, Young would have scored an extra 16.5 runs last season. But the Mets would have lost an extra 23 runs saved if they had played Young in the field instead of Juan Lagares. The Mets are 6.5 runs better playing Lagares rather than Young, even if Young got on-base as much as the league’s most efficient lead-off hitter.

Perhaps, the Mets should reconsider their position on the importance of a lead-off hitter versus extraordinary defense.

mmo

  • mad met

    I would say he is worth more runs then that bum chris young . that contract is garbage considering our obvious lack of funds

  • bostongregg

    Defense up the middle is absolutely essential for a team who’s future will be predicated by the success of their young pitchers. That is why Lagares must play center and Flores must not play short (Flores and Murphy at short and second is just not a plausible defensive set-up).

  • Benny

    Lagares > EYJ

    Pretty self-explanatory, nothing else needs to be stated.

  • BadBadLeroyBrown

    Not worried about Lagares at all…

    This guy worries me —->>>> “TRAVIS d’ARNAUD”

    And we arent hearing much about how Catcher looks to be a BIG PROBLEM with Recker as his backup.

  • AJF

    Yeah but Terry is the manager so stats mean nothing plus he needs to get Eric young in games to try to steal a base so that he could remain on second base as the inning ends because we know he won’t be scoring most of the time after he steals a base

  • Benny

    Very worried of how he has looked thus far…

  • $14435385

    Just give the guy a glove, point him to CF, and let him play. Give him 500-600 ABs and let him take his lumps until he becomes an average MLB hitter for his position (he’s not far from that now). Platoon the Youngs, who don’t have a long-term future here. Cripes, is it that complicated?

  • Just_Da_damaja

    LMAOOOOO

    Dale Duro Cono !

  • Peter Pantano

    The problem with this is Eric Young will play left field and Juan Legares will play center field. You should compare Chris Young and Juan Legares defensively in center and Chris Young and Eric Young defensively in left field. That would change the assumption that JL is a no brainer over Eric Young If Juan Legares hits, he starts. If not, I’d go with Chris Young in center and Eric Young in left.

  • Just_Da_damaja

    Why cant we have both of them in there ?

    hmmm o wait…

    Chris Young is making 7.5 mil dollars !!!

    we cant let that get in the way of putting out the best team possible…

    imagine the embarrasment of seeing Marlon Byrd get paid 8 mil and putting up starter numbers while Young gets paid 7.5 mil to ride the bench ?

    Nope, me neither, this front office is too scared of the egg on their face than the w/l record.

    thats why we aint going nowhere…

    this is all about ego and posturing.

    if Lagares was a Sandy Alderson found prospect, this wouldnt be a debate…

    If Travis was a Omar MInaya found prospect, he would be on the thinnest ice

    this is why you see the BS we see

    #PoliticsAsUsual

  • Hodges14

    Unfortunate, isn’t it. If they had done the right thing last April and put 24 year old TDA on the roster they could have judged whether or not he was the future by now. Now they have a 25 year old question mark. #playerdevelopmentmyass

  • Captain America

    Lagares won’t have a 23 run saved difference over Chris Young in CF.

    And how many more runs will Chris Young produce in CF offensively than Lagares?

    And why compare EYJ to Choo?

  • Hodges14

    It’s going to be a very long season. In the outfield, Granderson is a given, we all hope Lagares can take the next step and then we have 2 projects in the Youngs. The infield has all of the same problems as last year. The pitching staff is mostly likely going to include Lannan, Dice-K, Torres, and one of Farnsworth or Valverde (or maybe both).

    How is this team any better than last year?

  • CyYout

    EYJ is going to lead off because he *looks* like a leadoff hitter. No further analysis necessary for TC.

  • Bill Buckner

    I agree completely. Every time I mention it I’m hit with the 100ABs small sample size argument. I’m not even worried about his numbers over those 100 ABs – I’m worried about the fact that he looks over matched…like he doesn’t belong in the bigs. Not exactly how you’d expect to feel about a “can’t miss” best catching prospect in baseball…

  • Captain America

    And if den dekker jumps ahead of lagares what will your response be?

  • T Boogy

    This analysis makes perfect sense. So TC will obviously do the opposite. lol

  • Not4

    There are a lot of problems with this analysis – not the least of which, comparing Young’s OBP to Choo. The proper analysis is Young to Lagaras, which is only a difference of .037 last year and using the same math is a difference of 6 runs over the course of a season.

    Big picture, Young does not have the OBP to justify playing every day, let alone being a lead off hitter. And, as everyone knows, the “leadoff” hitter is only guaranteed to lead off an inning once each game.

    Go with the best player and call it a day. If Lagaras hits enough, it is a no brainer to go with him in CF. If he does not, then the Mets should explore all options, which includes EY getting more playing time, but also could include a platoon with MdD and one of the rigthies, or maybe even Vaughn who has severe splits.

  • Not4

    In fairness, the SSS “argument” is not really an argument, but a fact. It is just foolish to draw conclusions from any prospects first few hundred ABs. While I agree with you that he has looked over-matched and that is cause for concern, so many other prospects have similarly struggled to adjust when first called up. If we are into June, and he still looks unsettled at the plate, it is time to seriously worry (but not yet give up on him).

  • Just_Da_damaja

    very simple, i dont see lagares and den dekker competing against one another.

    If you read what i stated previously, our OF can potentially be

    Den Dekker – Lagares – Puello

    I am advocating trading Granderson ASAP

    I am not considering either Young as a long term solution

    if lagares gets hurt and den dekker comes up and hits .350 and plays his usual stellar defense, then im not sitting him for anyone.

    there are 3 OF spots and 1 Catcher spot.

    not exactly apples to oranges, but nice try !

  • Connor O’Brien

    Granderson, Lagares, and Chris Young. Period.

  • Jakal42400

    I like Lagares too, but MDD is the better fit, and may very well be the better defender on top of that.
    On the other hand EYJ needs to be removed from this team, not for any other purpose but just to eliminate Collins from making a bad decision 4 out of 6 games every week.

  • SUPER PERIOD!!!

  • Good to see you back buddy.

  • Donal

    But then who plays RF to start the season?

    And the comp to Choo is because they are both deemed lead off hitters. I just don’t get this pressing desire to shoe horn EYJ into the lead off spot. Yes, stolen bases are flashy, but they are, in fact, a footnote.

  • Hitmanᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ✔

    And then in late May, Puello (adios Young!)

  • Bill Buckner

    Oh I agree – like I said before – I’m not even looking at any of his statistics. He just doesn’t “look” like a major league hitter. With that said, though, we are pot committed at this point. We can’t give up on him at all because his value is lower now than it’s ever been. Worst case scenario, d’Arnaud flops and we got Thor for a couple years of RA Dickey so we still would have come out ahead, it just wouldn’t be the full-on coup that everyone thought it was when it happened…

  • Ryan5757

    How about having Young play 2B and Murphy at 1B?

  • Donal

    You mean the guy who has been working for the Red Sox for over a decade?

  • Denelor

    Yes, yes, yes yes and yes.

    Somehow TC is going to mess up what should be a fun outfield by insisting to play the 4th outfielder extraordinaire every day (or nearly so).

  • Not4

    Agreed across the board.

  • Benny

    How about Flores at 2B, Murphy at 1B, and EYJ to the bench (where he belongs)?

  • schadenfreudianslip

    Where does den Dekker fit into this? He’s going to turn some heads.

  • Benny

    “I like Lagares too, but MDD is the better fit, and may very well be the better defender on top of that.”

    I see you have fallen in love with Spring stats, be careful there…

  • schadenfreudianslip

    Den Dekker is going to see some time at Lagares expense, and I’m fine with it. Both are comers.

    And Puello will be there mid to late summer.

  • I’m positive that Lagares will have a better offensive year than EYjr (barring Terry’s hamfisted meddling).
    He came up and struggled. By the end of the year he was improving. He went to winter ball and had a great winter. He came to Spring training and improved more.
    How does he not project to having an improved 2nd season?
    What jump EYjr going to make at this stage of his career?

  • Jakal42400

    Not at all. I’ve been watching MDD for a while now. It was only injuries that kept setting him back. I think he’s a better natural hitter, but I also think if Lagares performs I would love to see a right/left platoon in CF. I will add that I must be missing something in my evaluations because I think Vaughn or Puello should end up in LF and didn’t really need CY, but I do like the hopeful security and trade prospect that he brings, until Vaughn or Puello put it all together.

  • I can’t help think that the combination of:
    Murphy, Young, and Flores would net out (offense & defense) to provide more than:
    Davis, Murphy, and Tejada.
    Davis and Tejada are automatic outs. Flores should hit and Young has at least one offensive skill.

  • Captain America

    Granderson is RF.

    Choo is not a met

  • Can Chris Young, Eric Young, or Granderson play 1st base at all? The 4th and 5th outfielders on this team will be better offensively than Ike/Duda.

  • Bill Buckner

    Saw your comment and photoshop on Deadspin. Good stuff LOL

  • oleosmirf

    Given what we’ve seen from Lagares this spring, I have to agree. Now that doesn’t mean the three of them should be in the starting lineup 7 days a week, but that really should be our primary lineup.

    I still believe Eric Young brings a valuable dimension and in a part time role, his numbers should be better than it was last season, but Lagares has earned the starting job.

    EY can still get around 2-3 starts a week (and plenty of AB off the bench) against tough RH SP especially since Chris Young is not very good against righties.

  • Captain America

    Granderson has one corner locked down.

    So that leaves the other corner and CF.

    Lagares and den dekker compete for cf.

  • Just_Da_damaja

    and in my opinion Centeno must be the catcher and Tovar must be the SS

  • Benny

    Finally you have come to your senses with this subject.
    Welcome aboard!

  • oleosmirf

    I highly doubt that. Their career averages are better than all of our OF offensively except for Granderson.

  • Just_Da_damaja

    why cant we get a good 1st half from Grandy and trade him?

    why is LF out of the question ?

    you act like we have kevin mitchell and barry bonds in LF right now

  • Flatbush0460

    Haha, ham fisted, love it

  • Donal

    The funny thing about facts is they don’t care if you’re buying.

  • oleosmirf

    As I said from the beginning, Lagares needs to show he is a better hitter than he was last season. So far this spring, he has.

    However, I still believe a platoon of den Dekker (if he hits as well) and Lagares will be our best option in CF since their defense is basically the same.

  • Taskmaster4450

    Other than Collins being a nitwit, I dont really understand the questioning of Lagares.

    Here is what we know:

    After being assigned to the bench for two months, Lagares hit over .260 as a starter..more than adequate considering the defense he provides.

    Lagares has a low OBP so trying to fit him into the leadoff spot isnt prudent at this time. He is a lower in the order hitter at this point.

    Since 2010, he has advanced at each level he was at. This shows the ability to adjust as he encounters difficulty. I expect the same thing at the major league level.

    He had a terrific season in Winter ball and has put up good numbers in ST. While these numbers arent the end all, they do tell the story when coupled with the other facts about him.

    Lagares will hit enough in the majors to warrant the starting position considering the defense he provides. Count on that.

  • oleosmirf

    but the leadoff hitter is guaranteed to step up to the plate in front of your 3 best hitters in Murphy, Wright and Granderson.

    That’s why OBP is so important in the leadoff spot b/c you want as many guys on base as possible for when your big bats come to the plate, regardless of how many outs there are in the inning.

  • Captain America

    Granderson is not getting traded.

    Not in the realm of possibility.

  • Guest

    EY can play 2B and Murphy could play 1B

  • Benny

    ” Lagares needs to show he is a better hitter than he was last season.”

    As was stated by numerous people on here, he was always the better option over EYJ. You’re the one who couldn’t see the pattern in his hitting ability (once acclimated to a level he always began to hit well). Lagares skill-set was never in question when compared to EYJ’s, at least to most of us…

    “However, I still believe a platoon of den Dekker (if he hits as well)
    and Lagares will be our best option in CF since their defense is
    basically the same.”

    Not really in agreement there…

  • Benny

    Flores can play 2B and provides much more at the plate than what EYJ does.

  • Captain America

    Hope lagares hits.

    Save one really hot streak, he did not hit enough to be an mlb cf

  • oleosmirf

    He was supposed to be promoted once his FA was delayed (late April), but he suffered a significant injury about 2 weeks before he was planned to be promoted and that kept him out until the last week in July.

    If not for that injury, TDA is called up just as John Buck comes back to earth in early May and the two of them split time with Buck mentoring D’Arnaud and eventually taking over for good after the trade.

  • Hodges14

    Why are people trying to figure out ways to force EY into the lineup? He batted .251 with a .647 OPS for the Mets last year. He’s another marginal major leaguer that they should be looking to upgrade with a better player.

  • Hodges14

    If not for unnecessarily being sent to Vegas he may not have been injured at all. He got hurt in a meaningless minor league game. He had already had over 2000 minor league plate appearances. He was 24 years old. He was supposedly the top catching prospect in baseball. There was no reason for him to still be in the minors.

  • metstastic

    That is the major problem.. WHEN Lagares was hitting, he was fine. When he was hitting, .200, not getting on base with zero power… that was BRUTAL! Even when EY didn’t hit, he could get on base every once in a while and steal bases. Didn’t he attempt a still almost 50% of the time he got on base? That’s like a double every time.

  • metstastic

    Not yet…Flores is still a black hole offensively in the bigs.

  • metstastic

    Why does everyone keep harping on EY’s low average, when his best attributes is his NL leading steals?

  • Hodges14

    Because stolen bases don’t matter. They don’t correlate to winning games. Stolen bases are a great fantasy league statistic. In real life they are inconsequential.

  • John

    Its really just collins stupid infatuation with EY stolen base total. Look at the Cardinals – Matt Carpenter would hardly be considered a “lead-off” hitter by the old school speed type metrics. But he gets on base. Daniel Murphy should lead off. EY shouldn’t even make the team.

  • Donal

    Granderson has not played a single inning at RF at the major league level. Not 1.

    And Choo is considered a good lead off man, so he’s being used as the measuring stick.

  • Not4

    100% agreed. I made a stray comment which detracted from the key point that EY’s OBP is just too low (without any other significant qualities) to be considered an everyday player, let alone a lead off hitter.

  • oleosmirf

    Lagares was terrible at the plate last season outside of a 6 week stretch and was far worse offensively than EY Jr. There were very few players in baseball that hit worse than Lagares last season.

    Improving every year in the minors once getting acclimated does not translate to MLB success. His .168/.216/.221 line in September last season is evidence of that and given how infrequently he played in April/May your fatigue argument isn’t very strong.

    It remains to be seen how he can produce at the ML level, however he has earned the job so far with his bat in ST.

    The question is how many games do you give him if he’s batting .220 in the first month of the season? Do you keep him in the lineup or do you call up den Dekker who is also a GG caliber CF, but gives you better offense from the left side of the plate.

  • Just_Da_damaja

    its very possible.

    if fielder can get traded with like 7 years left on his contract, i think granderson can get traded with 3-3.5 years left on his.

  • Donal

    oops, he’s got a whopping total of 14 games in a 10 year career. and all came last year. He ain’t a RF.

  • Just_Da_damaja

    why the obsession over delaying his Free-agency?

    if he is worth it, u are going to extend him during his arb years.

    bad move if u ask me

  • Benny

    If Flores is a black hole, then EYJ is a super-massive black hole.

  • Benny

    Because you can’t steal first base!

  • Captain America

    Grandy will be a public face of the mets. They are not flipping him.

  • oleosmirf

    The problem is Lagares had an absolutely terrible September where he put up a line of .168/.216/.221/.437

    That could be just a bad slump and means nothing, but it could also mean pitchers took notice of his poor plate discipline stopped throwing him strikes.

    Lagares has certainly earned the job thus far, but we really have no idea what he’ll do at the plate this season. He could be worse, he could better, we really have no idea.

  • SinHalo27

    With the FO wanting a puppet and there being so many young players, this creates quite a situation- minimizes the chance of there being another clubhouse mutiny (as with the Angels previously). Young players not wanting to rock the boat for fear of not getting a fair chance (not that most of them do really) and with the Captain being all-in and preaching to the other vets, this has lead to more and more of a stagnant team and organization. Sometimes they forget that this is NY- not Minnesota or Tampa- and should act like a NY team. With the Braves losing pitchers left and right, the Phils on the ropes, Miami still full of kids and Washington underachieving last year- this division could be had with some intelligent planning and action. PS- Wally would have these guys running through walls.

  • Benny

    It could also mean fatigue, considering he never played that many games at the pro level, and even if it was Pitcher’s figuring him out, he still deserves time to adjust to them.

  • Hodges14

    Not only that… he’s a catcher. By the time he hits 30 he’s going to be on the downside of his career most likely anyway.

  • Captain America

    If lagares and den dekker are
    In CF, then Chris young could be RF and Grandy LF

  • Derpy

    Lagares playing a full season in center field would yield 40 defensive runs saved. 40. That is 4 wins. EYJ, if he had the best season of his entire life, would be worth, at most, 20 runs. Aka 2 wins. Lagares is somewhere between 3 and 4 wins based on defense ALONE, and if he can bat anything, he suddenly becomes outrageously valuable. But seriously, just with his pure defense, Lagares is one of the best players on the entire TEAM. The only position player who is better is Wright, and the only pitchers better are Colon and maybe Wheeler. Lagares has higher value than everyone else.

    And this team isn’t even going to let him play? Are you KIDDING me? It has to be a joke. This whole franchise is a joke.

  • gameball

    Well, not inconsequential. Overvalued, maybe. In real life a base stealing threat affects pitch selection and infield positioning, and can contribute to the offense in ways that are not immediately apparent statistically.

    But as you suggest, in the absence of any other league-average skill, base stealing alone does not warrant a place as a regular in the starting lineup.

  • oleosmirf

    Not true.

    2011: 120 G 505 PA
    2012: 130 G 547 PA
    2013: 138 G 503 PA

  • Benny

    So the 8 game difference can’t make a difference? How about the stress levels at the MLB level opposed to the Minor League level? How about the amount of preparation before each game at the MLB level? Just because he didn’t play in all 162 games, doesn’t mean he wasn’t preparing as he would, considering anyone could go in at any given time during a game, especially if you’re eligible to come off the bench. The season is much more strenuous and longer at the MLB level, than it is at the Minor League level, and your stats don’t represent that.

  • There’s a reason the Jay’s let him go so easily with the giving up Thor as well!!

  • mr1313

    The fact is Lagares has more upside than EY has and is far superior defensive OF than EY is. We all know what EY is we have yet to see what Lagares will become. Still what we do know about Lagares is he has superior defense and will save us a greater run differential than EY will score us. He should start.

  • Derpy

    Lagares is already the greatest defensive center fielder in the sport. He is elite at defense. That alone should make him a full time starter. Especially for the Mets, a team who has nobody who can replace his value in the field and are also completely reliant on pitching. Defense and pitching is where this team needs to be elite in order to win games and make the post season, and Lagares is the most elite defensive center fielder in the game.

    If Lagares adds offense, he will be following the Yadier Molina track to superstardom. Arrive on the scene as an elite fielder, add offense, suddenly you’re a perennial allstar. Lagares shows flashes of offensive ability, but his elite defense is where is true value comes from. He should be starting every single day until he proves his defense isn’t good enough to carry him. He most certainly is not at that point.

    Lagares should be given every chance. EYJ is not a starting major league player. He just isn’t.

  • Benny

    Here we go again, sigh…

    In April he had 14 PA.

    In May he had 36 PA.

    Both months represent sporadic playing time, so how can you expect a rookie to perform when he’s getting that type of playing time, especially when you take his AAA performance (.346.378.551.929) right before his call up into account (talk about putting out a fire).

    In June he put up a .271.282.386.667 slash line, not terrible at all, especially when combined with GG caliber defense.

    In July he tore it up, putting up a .353.408.529.937 slash line, again coupled with his GG caliber defense that is just elite status right there.

    In August he put up a .259.297.375.672 slash line, once again coupled with GG caliber defense that is very respectable play.

    September was the one single month he did “terrible” in, so congratulations you’re finally right on something……HA! Na, just kidding. This month can simply be chalked up to fatigue as I have stated before, but I guess technically you are right since it was “terrible.”

  • Captain America

    Lagares and den dekker are very similar defenders.

    Bottom line if Lagares doesn’t hit he won’t play

  • Just_Da_damaja

    and having a public face of a 75 win team is more important than having a winning team

  • Taskmaster4450

    Couldnt you make that case for almost every player in baseball?

  • Hodges14

    It really can be ignored. Last season the Cardinals won the NL Championship while stealing 45 bases as a team. It’s just not that important.

  • mad met

    Down vote !!! And we are not the cardinals

  • mad met

    Florez has not looked the best this spring and ey was the stolen base leader last year with limited playing time …. In our park speed counts

  • Hodges14

    Well then, you can look at it from another angle. The top 4 teams in the NL in stolen bases in 2013 were Milwaukee (74-88), San Diego(76-86), NY Mets(74-88), Colorado(74-88). All 4 teams were horrible and never challenged for a post season spot despite being the best teams in the league as far as stolen bases.

  • Hodges14

    Didn’t seem to matter last year, or any other year since Citi Field opened.

  • mad met

    Agree we should be looking for better players but he is better then what we have in Chris young .. The position we need to fix is first base .. We can use tovar at ss Juan in center gives us a crazy good defense up the middle we need a first base men and to drop cy at break to bring up puello

  • mad met

    Could not agree more the Chris y signing was completely pointless that money shoul have fixed first base

  • To pile it on, you can add that Lagares presumably can progress as a hitter and baserunner, and EYJ is pretty much who he is at this time. But, that would be piling it on, and just making too much sense. He stole 46 bases people. That’s enough to ignore any flaws in his game that would enlighten one to thinking Lagares is the better everyday option.

  • oleosmirf

    Your grasping for straws here. He played less innings in 2013 than in 2012 and 2011.

    The fact is we have no way to know why Lagares stunk in September or how well he’ll perform this season.

    What we do know is he is a GG caliber CF who stunk at the plate for the majority of the 2013 season, but had a very good 6 week stretch in the middle of the year who went to winter ball and performed well and has continued that into ST to the point where he is our best option in CF.

    He should get the majority of the AB in April and we can go from there depending on his performance.

  • gameball

    Maury Wills was on base 260 times that year. His OPS was league-average. If I thought EYJ could sport a league-average OPS and steal 104 bases, I’d clear the decks for him in LF.

    (Willie Davis also got on base enough to score 100 runs that year, many of them no doubt driven in by T.Davis)

  • oleosmirf

    The idea that Lagares and den Dekker will be better Granderson is laughable.

  • oleosmirf

    I believe that if EY were to play part time (2-4 starts per week instead of 6-7) his numbers would be better as it would avoid overexposure.

    Between the games at 2B for Murphy against a tough LHP and for Lagares and Young against tough RHP, there are enough AB for everyone without anyone getting screwed or overexposed.

  • Hodges14

    You think the fact that Wills hit .299 and had a .347 OBP over 759 plate appearances might have contributed to that?

    EYJ comes close to those numbers he might have a case to get playing time. With what he’s shown so far, not so much. Getting playing time because the only thing you do well is steal bases is nuts.

  • oleosmirf

    because I’d rather have a player for 162 games in their prime than 20 games during their rookie season in a year where we’re winning 80 games at best.

  • Fonzie

    Couldn’t agree more. The stolen base is one of the most overated plays in baseball unless you have a Tim Raines or Carlos Beltran in his prime success rate. 30 years ago the SB was a big deal. Not in this era.

  • Hodges14

    Not that it was that significant overall but the Dodgers did play 165 games that year because of the playoff with the Giants.

  • metstastic

    Or you can say EYJ hasn’t been given a fair chance yet. He was a career minor league .297 hitter with .388 OBP! Last year was the only year that he was remotely close to full time hitter. Too put things into perspective.. Lagares was a .282 hitter with a .322 OBP in the minors. So who has the better chance of improving?

  • I’ll go with Lagares who is 3-4 years younger.

  • metstastic

    My point was you need a secondary offensive skill to offset your poor hitting.. Lagares doesn’t have that!

  • gameball

    Huh, forgot that part of it.

    Interesting year . . . LA stole 110 bases more than the next team. Scored 40 more runs than CIN, who had a .015 higher team OPS than LA (maybe only 30 more runs without those last 3 games).

    Frank Howard was on that team too. Hell of a 1-4 lineup. And those pitchers. And they lost to SF anyway.

  • metstastic

    “At this stage in his career”? EYJ is 28 years old.. He’s been in the ML for 5 seasons and last season was the only time he played anything close to full time.

  • MattSzat

    This is extremely interesting argument. It’s refreshing to see something like this as opposed to just “Play the kids” “EYJ is a bum”

  • oleosmirf

    If he only played sporadically in April and May why is he so fatigued in September?

    You can’t have it both ways. You can’t erase May, the first half of June, the last three weeks of August and all of September and say it’s meaningless. That’s 3/4 of the season you are willfully ignoring.

  • TPT

    so TC feels we need EY in the lineup because the FO forgot we need a leadoff hitter so ok EY LAGARES AND GRANDY…….someone tell me why we signed CY then? that 7.5 million would have been better served using it to get us a SS or 1B MORE LUNACY FROM OUR FO wow

  • Benny

    “If he only played sporadically in April and May why is he so fatigued in September?”

    Once again you are only counting his playing time as causes of fatigue. Just because he didn’t play those games doesn’t mean he wouldn’t get ready as if he was going to play those game. He still shagged flyballs, he still worked out, and he still took batting practice. This fantasy that you believe he stays at home or in a hotel room laying in bed when he doesn’t play is just ridiculous. The whole season is still longer than any minor league season he played in.

    “You can’t erase May”

    Was still a part-time player and only had 36 PA.

    ” the first half of June, the last three weeks of August and all of September and say it’s meaningless. ”

    So now you’re picking apart his months too? LMFAO!!! His months of June and August were good, not terrible! I don’t care how you skew the numbers to look bad to satisfy your preconceive notions of Lagares I’m still not going to buy into your nonsense. I also never stated his September was “meaningless,” I agreed that it was terrible.

    “That’s 3/4 of the season you are willfully ignoring.”

    No, it’s not! You’re just ignoring his WHOLE month of June and WHOLE month of August, and focusing on a bad stretch during those months, which had no ill-effect on his total numbers during those months.

  • oleosmirf

    A 271.282.386.667 line in June and a 259.297.375.672 line in August is not good. It’s pretty bad actually.

    As Keith said during the broadcast, once teams started pitching him inside, he couldn’t hit and that is more likely the reason why he stunk in September and not “fatigue”.

    He has earned the chance, but it’s up to him to show improvement when the games count b/c a .242/.281 line is not good enough to play in MLB no matter how good the defense is.

  • Joey D.

    Hi Jeffrey,

    Where EYJ can only score one run in an at bat, Lagares can save a tremendous amount of runs with just one catch. One must remember, even with the bases loaded and two outs, it’s not just the three runs that he saves, it’s also saving the inning from continuing by getting that third out. That batter who drove
    Phome all three runs could be driven in himself.

    EYJ just does not have the bat to justify taking away Juan’s defensive contributions to the club and we only need to rely on what we saw last year to understand that. It is more that the Mets do not have the bats to move Juan out of the lineup and that because they do not have those bats Juan’s hitting limitations cannot be offset by others in the lineup as well.

    IMHO, it’s more a question of whom the Mets would be better off in left field – EYJ or Chris Young. CY is no threat against right handed pitching and has dropped to the .250 range against left handers as well. His hitting outside Arizona in 2011 was .230 which shows that the ballpark helped to inflate his overall stats which in turn should not have been lost by ether the statisticians or those insiders who know the game by observation. His home run power came virtue of playing in Phoenix as well and will be negated a lot by Citi Field.

    Perhaps the answer in left field lays outside the “young” movement.

  • 2rings

    Juan has to be in CF everyday, period. EY and CY can platoon in left until Puello comes up

  • 2rings

    I actually hope he pulls a Byrd, and surprises in first half so he can be flipped for prospects at trading deadline

  • Derpy

    Lagares is head and shoulders better defensively, and he is also a much better hitter. Lagares is a far superior player to den Dekker.

  • Captain America

    That is just silly

    Den dekker is a phenomenal fielder and has the power lagares lacks

  • JB

    Good points Joe.

    I have noticed a lot of comments about the virtues of replacing Chris Young as an everyday option.

    I suppose my reasoning for focusing only on Lagares vs EY is based on the Mets open commitment to Chris Young to give him everyday at bats. The logic is frustrating, but they believe that the value of Chris’ contract will only be realized if they let him play everyday, since they believe that is how they can maximize his performance.

  • Hodges14

    He was 24 years old. He’s a catcher… 24 is his prime.

  • metstastic

    With all the runs “saved”… You still can’t win 1-2.

  • Chuck

    No … but Lagares defensive contribution over a full season could, reasonably assuming that he has close to the same defensive results, cost the other teams 40 runs or more over the season. That can turn a number of 4 – 3 losses into 3 – 2 wins. No, it doesn’t help the blow-outs (either way), but it makes a big difference in the close games. Take some good pitching, which the Mets should have, and take away quite a few extra-base hits, turning many of those into outs, and we could see quite a few more wins in those close games.

  • Derpy

    den Dekker is a very good fielder.

    Lagares is elite.

  • mad met

    100 % accurate … They signed this bum cause they were getting locked out of any real player deals until grandy dropped his amount and years because there were not many takers for him. So now because they panicked we are stuck with this guy until the allstar break. And again they will play him over more deserving players because of that’s right money not playing the best 25guys

  • Metfan9876

    If Young bounces back, he’s much more valuable than E. Young and instantly becomes a very good trade chip for us.

  • piazza4aday

    don’t forget the black hitting hole TDA….he’d getting old before our eyes…

  • mad met

    I really hoped hat they were to get more protection in the line up for Juan and Travis and give them some breathing room. But with Ike duda young and a bad ss these kids will struggle at times . And be more needed then they should have been.

  • mad met

    You can cherry pick stats all u want .yes they were not good teams . I get it you like the new era of baseball were strikeouts don’t matter ..it not the ball I like . I would rather watch guys who move runners create havoc on the bases cause more fast balls just my opinion

  • Joey D.

    Hi JB,

    Yes, it’s the $7.25 million that has created the problem. Why a franchise with such financial problems would invest that much for a player with such obvious hitting limitations is beyond me. Nobody disputes his glove and speed but that is not going to win ball games.

    Most other organizations would not let a $7.25 million contract dictate at-bats as they would in turn determine how to best utilize the player just acquired. With CY, it would be primarily platooning and pinch hitting against left handed pitching and as a late inning defensive replacement. The Mets will find that with the more at bats the more they could not justify the value of that contract as far as what the organization talks about in terms of proper payroll management.

    More important, that is a wonderful picture of you and your son. It is so nice to know what those on the other side of cyber space look like. You seem like a proud poppa in that shot!

  • Joey D.

    Hi Mestastic,

    Oh, agreed with that. That is why I have said this organization cannot “re-build” successfully given the limited amount of money we have and the personnel makeup of the roster and minor league system. We have strength in pitching on both levels but too many holes in the position players that one cannot depend upon a minor league system to produce in total – and that this system in particular does not have close to being ready at this time nevertheless.

    We will be on the losing end of many a close pitching duel or 5-4 or 5-3 contests. We scored an average 3 and a half runs per contest after our first 19 games last season and there were reasons for that in which David Wright being injured and Byrd being traded do not serve as excuses as they do explanations as to how full of holes our lineup actually had.

    The only way to resolve those holes is to go free agency like other clubs do. We have not done that and that is why this whole rebuilding with youth is part an honest attempt and part BS because there is no money to spend to complete the picture other than on cheap talent.

  • bauman

    People forget that jaun can also hit hes having an amazing spring and showed potential last year as well. Im betting he has a better offensive year then both the youngs. Watching him in the field reminded me alot of beltran the way he makes it look effortless and i think his bat can be just as good hes young and needs devloping but i think we have a star in centerfield rite now.and were trying to replace him with a below average second baseman turned outfieder

  • Captain America

    Ok buddy don’t overwhelm us with facts

  • METS62FAN

    AS I MENTIONED TO JOEYD IN A REBUTTAL YESTERDAY ON OUR BOY JUAN, TC CERTAINLY HAS NOT, IMO, BEEN FAIR TO HIM AS HE CAME UP AS A RENOWNED “FREESWINGER” & HAS UNDERSTANDABLY STRUGGLED TRANSFERRING HIS DUCK HUNTING WITH A SHOTGUN STYLE OF HITTING USED IN MINORS CONVERTING TO A SNIPER APPROACH HUNTING FOR THAT SINGLE BEST OF THE BUNCH PITCH TO TAREGET. THAT WAS TO BE ANTICIPATED. NOW, JOEY D. COOULD NOT RECOLLECT THE SOURCE; BUT SEEMED TO RECALL READING TC HAD, @ ONE POINT, ADVISED HIM TO “GO BACK TO HIS PERSONAL COMFORTABLE APPROACH, YET HE STILL APPEARED TO BE OVERWHELMED.
    UNFORTUNATELY, IT HAS BEEN MY 50+ YR EXPERIENCE AS A SPORT FAN WHO EXCLUSIVELY FOLLOWS NYM FORSAKING NBA, NFL, NHL, PSL & ALL OTHER “L’s” TO HAVE LEARNED THE ONE UNAVOIDABLE STATEMENT OF FACT REGARDING ANY NL LINEUP… THE SINGLE WORST BATTING POSITION FOR ANY FREESWINGER IS THE #8 HOLE. LOGICALLY EVEN THE MOST ERRATIOC PITCHER WILL HAVE THE LUXURY OF CONCENTRATING ON BEING UNHITTABLE TRYING TO STEADFASTLY REMAIN “LOW & AWAY” SINCE HIS TRUE TARGET IS ONDECK WHERE HE CONFIDENTLY BELIEVES WALKING #8 IS A SMALL PRICE TO PAY FOR ELIMINATING HIS THREAT WHEN THE NEXT #9 IS THE AUTO-OUT HE’S SEEKING TO ESCAPE WITH.
    JUST AS REYES INITIALLY STRUGLED WHEN CALLED UP & DUMPED INTO THAT TERRIBLE 8-HOLE; NOT SHOWING HIS TRUE VALUE UNTIL SOLIDIFIED @ #1 WHERE PITCHERS WERE FORCED TO DEAL STRAIGHT WITH HIM.
    FOR ALL THIS HOOPLA ON EY’s LEASDOFF VALUE IT SHOULD BE NOTED HIS 2013 OBP WAS ONLY A BARELY ACCEPTABLE .310 WHILE IT SHOULD ALSO BE NOTED THAT LAGARES MiLB CAREER WAS MOST LIKELY LEADING OFF @ A SUSTAINED A COMPOSIT OBP OF .378 THROUGH HIS 8 SEASONS OF MiLB PLAY. 2006 THROUGH 2013. WHICH HE MAINTAINED @ .379 DURING THIS PAST WINTERBALL SEASON.
    GIVEN HIS OUTSTANDINGLY SUPERIOR DEFENSE AS WELL AS HIS PROVEN ABILITY TO DROP A BUNT BASEHIT WHEN LEAST EXPECTED.
    FOR ALL, I LIKE ABOUT EY’s ENTHUSIASM & FLEXIBILITY I STILL UNDERSTAND HE IS A MiLB CAREER 2B CONVERTED TO OUTFIELDER.
    LAGRES AT LEAST SWITCHED SS TO CF EARLY THROUGH MiLB EXPERIENCE. AND JUAN SHOULD MOST CERTAINLY WARRANT A SHOT TO DISINHERIT THE “INCUMBANT BY DEFAULT”