Who would start between Juan Lagares and Eric Young, Jr. was a debate that raged all throughout spring training. When Chris Young went down early in the season with a quadriceps strain, the debate resolved itself. However, with Young due to return in 11 days, the Mets will again be faced with a decision – and it should be an easy one.
Eric Young, Jr. needs to be relegated to the bench.
Everyone knows about the value Lagares provides with his glove, but that was only one half of the equation as far as the Mets were concerned.
Prior to the season, the offensive advantage Young, Jr. held over Lagares was negligible. While the first six games of the season are a tiny sample size, Lagares’ approach at the plate (working the count, taking the ball the other way) matches up with his production.
Meanwhile, Young, Jr. has been dreadful at the plate.
Yes, we’re going off small sample sizes, but they’re the only thing we have to go off at this point.
If Lagares was the one struggling mightily at the plate, it’s likely that alarm bells would already be going off – with some sounded by Terry Collins. Since Lagares is excelling at the dish, he deserves to get some credit.
It’s not likely that Terry Collins’ infatuation with Young, Jr. and his speed will dissipate, but Juan Lagares starting every day in center field was the proper course of action prior to the season. So far, all Lagares has done is cemented his spot.
When Chris Young is activated from the disabled list, there shouldn’t be any talk of needing to get both Young, Jr. and Lagares in there on a regular basis. Lagares should be in center field, and Young, Jr. should be on the bench.