Dave Hudgens met with Juan Lagares before Thursday’s game against the Padres to tell him, “Don’t let any offensive funk affect your fielding,” according to a report from ESPN New York.
Lagares went hitless on the night, but threw out a runner at the plate and made another diving catch in the field.
The 24-year-old rookie hit .263 through his first 64 big-league at bats. However, he’s hitting just .200 in his last 65, while starting on a more regular basis. He is hitless in his last 13 at bats.
“Hitting is hard, and you’re going to have ups and owns,” Hudgens told Lagares, Terry Collins explained to reporters on Thursday. “But that catch he made in center field tonight, that’s what we want him to do on a nightly basis. He may not have driven in any runs, but he saved two.”
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
It is looking like classic overexposure at the plate, and a league knowing how best to pitch him… all of which is expected. The question is: Can he, will be, adjust?
Terry argues that Lagares saves runs, and my eyeballs and advanced stats agree. What’s interesting to me is that, over the last year or so, Matt den Dekker was described as being the better defensive center fielder, which is hard to imagine given how well Lagares is playing out there. Unfortunately, no professional baseball person I talk with thinks either player is capable of being an every-day contributor to a big-league offense.
So, the other important question will keep being: Can Sandy Alderson do enough to upgrade offensive production from other positions to justify light-hitting-all-defense player in center?
Read More: ESPN New York