We continue our 2014 Mets Season in Review series with center fielder Juan Lagares.
Although his season was cut a bit short due to a right elbow sprain, Lagares’ 2014 was a coming out party.
How he fared in 2014:
When you think of Juan Lagares, you picture him streaking across the outfield precisely while making plays other outfielders would have no shot at making. And he does it standing up.
In 2014, Lagares proved that his defense in 2013 was no fluke. With incredible jumps, great routes, plus speed, and a plus arm, Lagares established himself as arguably the best defensive center fielder in baseball. His 28 defensive runs saved were remarkable considering the fact that he had two separate stints on the disabled list.
While his defense continued to thrill, Lagares’ offense was solid. He posted a triple slash of .281/.321/.382, to go along with 24 doubles, 3 triples, 4 home runs, 46 runs scored, and 47 RBI.
Toward the end of the season, the Mets implored Lagares to steal more bases and he obliged, using a late-season stolen base barrage to finish with 13.
Areas to improve upon:
An issue that continues to hamper Lagares on offense is his tendency to chase balls out of the strike zone (which he’s improved). However, his 4.4 % walk rate could stand to go up. It would also be nice to see him turn some more of those doubles into home runs.
Projected Role in 2015:
Starting center fielder.
Contract Status and Trade Rumors:
Lagares isn’t yet eligible for arbitration, and is set to continue to make close to the major league minimum in 2015. No player is ever untouchable, but Lagares is probably close to it unless the Mets have a chance to import a true game-changing bat.