Juan Lagares Showing Progress in Winter League

Posted: November 17, 2013 in News, Opinion

By Steven Inman

One of the main keys to the Mets 2014 season is the improved play of young players like Juan Lagares.

One of the main keys to the Mets 2014 season is the improved play of young players like Juan Lagares.

Juan Lagares is hitting .406 with four doubles and 11 RBI in 69 at-bats over 17 games for Las Aguilas Cibaenas in the Dominican Winter League.

He’s had four consecutive multi-hit games and has a nine-game hitting streak, dating back to November 5.

However, Lagares has drawn just two walks this winter. On WFAN the other day, Sandy Alderson mentioned that it’s not about Lagares drawing more walks, it’s about him getting into better hitters counts.

Lagares is about as good an outfielder as the Mets can acquire defensively, so it makes a lot of sense for the Mets to see if he can hit enough in 2014. He’s never going to walk but if he can just be slightly more patient, especially with pitches outside the strike zone, perhaps the Mets may have something here.

Lagares has always shown a little more power in the minors and it wouldn’t be surprising to him get close to double digit homeruns next year. That being said, he really faded offensively down the stretch in 2013. Lagares hit .242 with a .281 OBP and .633 OPS in 121 games for the Mets in his rookie season, swinging at a whopping 35.4 percent of pitches outside the strike zone.

  1. Mike Young says:

    Steve – In baseball major league pitching “separates the men from the boys.” Hopefully for Mets fans Juan Lagares will learn to ajust his approach in accordance with whether he is ahead or behind any given count. My observation tells me that winning teams have hitters that can hit with RISP when they have two strikes on them. Losing teams have hitters that tend to “go fishing” as Keith has often said by swinging at pitches that drop off “into the dirt” or out of the strike zone. When Mets hitters can control their swing often enough so that a pitcher must throw more stikes then the Mets will win more ball games. Juan Lagares is one of those young athletic players who needs to be able to make such a transition in his approach when ever he is in the box. I am rooting for this guy to elevate his game by increasing his batting IQ in 2014. Lets Go Mets! Mike

    • Steven Inman says:

      Mike, unfortunately Lagares will always be a “fisher” he’s never going to walk or completely change his approach. His thought is his approach is what got him here to the show.
      All he needs to do is improve. Fangraphs had Lagares as a 3 win player which is outstanding considering his poor year offensively. His defense is that good and should keep him in the lineup. That 3 WAR ties him for third on the team with Murphy, only behind Wright and Harvey. That means you can make the case that Lagares is the 3rd or 4th best player on this team right now… Thanks for the comment Mike!

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