New York Mets News

Mets: Juan Lagares best and worst case scenarios for 2019

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 14: Juan Lagares #12 of the New York Mets hits a RBI triple in the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field on June 14, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 14: Juan Lagares #12 of the New York Mets hits a RBI triple in the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field on June 14, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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Best Case Scenario

Over the course of his major league career, his lifetime batting average is .260 and his OBP sits at an even .300. He traditionally does not walk a lot, so his batting average will be tied closely to how often he gets on base.

With that said, it is very common for players on the final year of their contract to “outperform expectations”, in an effort to boost their stock to secure a better deal following the season. Hopefully, this may be the case with Lagares and ideally, he would outhit is career batting average.

While I feel it’s unrealistic for him to hit over .300, I can reasonably see his average sitting in the .270-.280 range, which would more than warrant keeping him in the lineup every day.

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Lagares’ true value to the team lies in his defensive capabilities. Despite the ups and downs, he has had as a hitter in the big leagues, he is still a former Gold Glove winner and is still regarded as one of the league’s best defenders.

What it’s going to come down to for Lagares is “can he stay healthy in 2019?”

As previously stated, he hasn’t appeared in over 100 games in a single season for the Mets in the past 3 years, and last season he was ruled out for the year after getting surgery on his foot in late May.

Since he had the rest of last season and this off-season to recover and has even played in the Dominican League to help ready himself for Spring Training, I think its safe to assume that he’ll be healthy to start the year. He just needs to stay that way.

For his best case scenario for the Mets next year, after his injury-plagued seasons, Lagares should return to form as starting center fielder and reestablish himself has one of the best defenders in the game.

As a hitter, I foresee him potentially batting in the .270-.280 range and should initially begin the season hitting down in the lineup, either batting seventh or ninth, but he moves up in the order if he hits consistently and others such as Amed Rosario or Todd Frazier do not.

If he performs this well, he may even end up keeping the starting job once Cespedes returns later in the season, and could give the Mets a difficult decision to make when his contract is up at the end of the season.

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