With a 4 for 4 performance on Tuesday night in Miami, Juan Lagares did something he had never done in his major league career. Batting out of the leadoff spot, he collected 4 hits. For the Mets front office, this was likely the second most impressive feat of the night. First were his 2 stolen bases.
According to ESPN’s Adam Rubin, the Mets want Lagares to be more aggressive on the base paths and are force feeding him steal signs throughout the game. Terry Collins has fully bought into the philosophy:
“You can’t play center field like he plays it, with that first step, and not be able to be a good baserunner — because this guy is daring, he’s got a great first step, he’s got great speed when he gets it going. But what we’ve got to do is get him to top speed faster. He shows it in the outfield. That’s why I say there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to do it” (Rubin, ESPN).
It all makes sense for the Mets. Lagares obviously shows explosive speed in the outfield so if he’s able to lengthen his leads and get solid jumps, he should be able to start swiping bags. If he is able to add stolen bases to his already impressive overall game, Lagares could become an ideal leadoff hitter for the Mets in the future.
“I know I can run a little bit.” said Lagares. “In the beginning I had a couple of injuries with my hamstring. That’s why I didn’t try to over-run. But now I feel 100 percent. I want to take advantage of that. I think if you’ve got the speed, it’s just about working to steal bases.”
Lagares has stolen 2 bases twice in his career. The last time he did it was on July 26th, 2013 against the Washington Nationals. In that game, Lagares went 3-4 with 3 runs scored and the 2 stolen bases. The Mets won that game 11-0. Maybe the Mets are on to something here. When Lagares has run in the past, good things have happened. For the rest of September, I hope we see a lot from the Mets center fielder.