Mets Season Preview: Most likely Met to disappoint

By Danny Abriano
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Sep 9, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets center fielder Juan Lagares (12) singles to left allowing a runner to score during the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Haefeli, Staff Writer:

Juan Lagares. Don’t get me wrong – Lagares is awesome, and will continue to be awesome. With a full season, I think he snatches the diamond glove award away from Yadier Molina and doesn’t give it back for a long time. However, I believe the hot spring (.345/.400/.655, 3 HR) has created lofty expectations for the third year player’s bat.

Some of what we’re seeing – the improved walk rate (8.3%) and strikeout rate (16.7%) – are probably at least somewhat indicative of his future. Lagares has trained extensively with new hitting coach Kevin Long on recognizing bad pitches, and it’s likely to have paid some dividends, as he’s never shown much in the name of plate discipline. However, I’m going to err on the side of history and think that at least some of it is a mirage.

There’s a non-trivial chance that Lagares does break out. Molina, who I mentioned above, was an awful hitter prior to 2011, posting a .688 OPS over his first 805 major league games. Lagares is still two years younger than Molina was when he broke out, and was already an average hitter last season. When push comes to shove, though, I’m expecting him to improve on last season by adding a few more walks and home runs, but nothing dramatic. If he stays healthy, I think he’ll be an All-Star in 2015, but I think he falls short of the lofty goals I’m seeing floated around in March.

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