This offseason, Mets outfielder Juan Lagares worked closely with hitting guru Craig Wallenbrock in Southern California to improve his launch angle.
New York has taken notice of this and plan to get him some extra swings this Spring.
“He’s made some adjustments and it’s going to be interesting to see how he takes that into the game,” Mets hitting coach Pat Roessler told the New York Post Friday. “We may have to run him on the back field a little bit to get him some extra at-bats to make him more comfortable.”
Lagares appeared in just 94 games for the Mets in 2017, hitting to a .250/.296/.365 clip with three homers and 15 RBI over 272 plate appearances.
“He did hit some balls hard last year, and when his timing is not off, hit the ball on the ground,” Roessler said. “I think he’s got a better chance of hitting the ball in the air more often. We told him the other day we don’t mind him hitting ground balls as long as the first hop is 420 feet away.”
Lagares has seldom hit the ball hard throughout his career, according to MLB Trade Rumors. They show that he had just a 27.5 percent hard hit rate lifetime, and his figure from last season (29.6 percent) was not too far off from that. (Their research is courtesy of FanGraphs).
However, the outfielder is just concerned with hitting in general.
“I don’t think about hitting home runs,” he said. “I just want to hit more for average and I know I can do it, that is why I am working hard this offseason. I am trying to prove that I can do it.”
It will be a pivotal season for Lagares, who has a chance to prove he is an impactful Major League player while Michael Conforto is sidelined with injury.