Mets outfielder Jake Marisnick should be the right upgrade over Juan Lagares

Jake Marisnick should be able to replicate some of the things Juan Lagares did well and bring a little more power to the New York Mets in 2020.

It feels like ages since Juan Lagares was with the New York Mets. Amazingly, he played in 133 of the team’s 162 games in 2019.

The team said farewell to the longtime outfielder without much thought. They wasted little time in finding a replacement, trading for Jake Marisnick in the offseason to help bolster their center field defense.

Defense was always the greatest weapon Lagares brought to the field. He’s still the most recent Mets player to win a Gold Glove, snagging one way back in 2014. While I don’t think Marisnick will have the innings to win one in 2020, his overall game should be an improvement over what Lagares gave the Mets in more recent years.

Lagares wrapped up his time in New York slashing .254/.297/.361. His 2019 campaign was his worst and included a .213/.279/.326 batting line in 285 trips to the plate.

In a season where everyone seemed to hit, Lagares took a break.

Marisnick, meanwhile, carries to New York a lifetime .227/.280/.380 batting line. The major difference here is the power with an average of 13 long balls per 162 games. In Lagares’ career, he’s averaging just 6 over the same span.

It’s the recent performances that should weigh heaviest with us. Marisnick hit .233/.289/.411 in 2019 which is good enough for a fourth or fifth outfielder best-known for his defense. And if we do look at the defensive numbers for the two in recent years, Lagares is fading while Marisnick is right where we want him to be.

Lagares was actually a -0.3 WAR on defense in 2019 which was atypical for a guy with his reputation. Marisnick was at 0.9 WAR with the glove. Had he played more innings, it may have been higher. One of the things to know about WAR is that the amount of time you play often plays a big part in what your number will look like at the end of the year.

It would seem that Marisnick is holding steady on defense while Lagares is on the decline. He’s also still hitting near his career totals with Lagares continuing to slide downward.

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As an offensive player, I also like the fact that Marisnick can pop a home run twice as often as Lagares. There’s something about having that possibility on the bench that makes a player feel even a few points more valuable. Even if his career numbers seem to suggest he’s less likely to get a hit, Marisnick appears closer to his best playing days than Lagares.

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