Juan Lagares off to a slow start since his return from DL

Maggie Wiggin, Contributor

Juan Lagares went 2 for 4 with a run scored Tuesday against the Braves. It was his first multi-hit game since his return from the disabled list. He capped off his successful night with another highlight-reel catch that saw him chase down a deep fly ball across half the outfield.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets


Despite these good signs last night, it’s been a struggle for Lagares over the past week and his OPS has dropped 30 points to .737 since he was sidelined with an intercostal strain. He has struck out in 35% of his plate appearances, drawing no walks. He also recorded his first error of the season on Tuesday night, but I have less concern about that as he is still showing the incredible range and instincts in the field, which continue to make him a Gold Glove-caliber centerfielder…


In a very small sample size, his throws have been somewhat less accurate than we’re accustomed to, but that’s another area that could still be affected by his injury and it’s far too soon for a meaningful pattern to emerge there.

Abdominal injuries have notoriously lingering effects on hitters and Lagares had just 4 rehab starts so it’s very likely his strength and bat speed are still working their way back to full power. Going forward, I’d like to see him strike out less and get back some of the extra base power from his line drive swing. While his glove will always be his defining tool, the team needs him to be at least an average hitter as they struggle to score.

Overall, Lagares has had a good season, but there is much room for development and some cause for concern. He’s walking and striking out at almost identical rates as he did last season and though he’s shown a little more power, it’s far from certain he can continue to hit above league average in the long term with this approach.

Selectivity is the key area Lagares needs to focus on, as he readily expands the strike zone and swings wildly. Not only will this cut down on the strikeouts and increase his walk rate, but opposing pitchers will learn he can’t be relied upon to expand the zone and he will see more pitches he can hit squarely. He will never hit for homerun power, but Citi Field will afford him plenty of opportunities to rack up the doubles.

Outside of the injuries, Lagares has a lot to be happy about this season, but still has work to do. Hopefully last night was an indication that he’s shaken off the rust and is ready to take on the rest of the season.




42 comments
Chad Michael
Chad Michael

I haven't really watched but when I did I think it was Rony who mentioned that Lagares' swing looked different after he got back and that he may have changed it to instinctively protect the injury.  Not sure if this is true, but if it is the case then hopefully the Mets pick up on it and work with him to get back to the swing that brought him success earlier on.

elgiacomo
elgiacomo

Being buried at the bottom of the lineup certainly ain't helping anything.  I think it's crazy how Lagares is having to earn his way back into the lineup after his injury, yet CY keeps getting starts, keeps getting put in that 5-hole, despite being one of the most pathetic disgraces of a Major League baseball player I've ever seen.  Lagares has demonstrated much more at the plate this season than CY ever will, yet CY is getting priority over Lagares in the lineup?!

#FreeLagares

 

Tom Gallagher
Tom Gallagher

"Juan Lagares is off to a slow start", or what Chris Young would call "business as usual".

nhmetsfan
nhmetsfan

Supplement to my last post. Late & Close / seems like a valuable stat.


A Late & Close situation meets the following requirements:

  1. The game is in the seventh inning or later, and
  2. the batting team is either leading by one run, tied, or has the potential tying run on base, at bat, or on deck

nhmetsfan
nhmetsfan

Lagares is a real reason to be excited as a Mets fan. His extraordinary value as CF is supplemented by his unmetlike ability to get hits when it matters.

MLB.com has a stat-BA late/close (not sure their criteria), but it seems to reflect my visceral feeling of how players do when it counts.


For example, Lagares is .310 late close and .270 with RISP overall


Duda is .122 late close and .286 RISP overall.

otter15
otter15

"In a very small sample size, his throws have been somewhat less accurate"...with one statement, you proved you're overreacting in three different ways. I get that this article may have had relevance before yesterday, but he played a great game. Even though you worked hard to write this, it honestly just made no sense to publish it after he had a terrific night on both sides of the ball. 

jaydhn
jaydhn

still the best positional player on the team

Chapter 7
Chapter 7

Can we get an article about how the mets need to win to increase attendance and payroll, yet still refuse to field the best team possible day in and day out?

donw
donw

For crying out loud, can we just let this guy play?  Put him in CF everyday, watch, and enjoy.  He will be fine if they just stop messing with him.  Having 6 OFs on the roster doesn't help.  What team does this?

archer41
archer41

And yet, he's still better than CY.

drmetfan
drmetfan

JLags will be fine. No need to panic with our center fielder. 

Chapter 7
Chapter 7

Not concerned about Juan. He's been great.

Campbell continues to hit. He should have replaced C Young weeks ago. Cut Chris Young.

I wish Flores got a real shot at SS

ventura_4
ventura_4

Out of everything to complain about regarding this team, Maggie's talking about Lagares' struggling first week upon returning from the DL.


Also, Maggie, can you ever write a piece that doesn't talk about OPS?


And then there's her love affair with Duda.

it's been one week. give the guy a break. 

nwmets
nwmets

Trade him now. He might start contributing soon, so we'd better get rid of him for some mid-level prospects.

sandybgone
sandybgone

Maggie...luv ya...but lets see a break down of d'arnaud's struggles...


Lagares has been back for only one week with a very tough injury...dude is all world defense and has shown improvement from last season. 


We fail to remember that Lagares was not even considered to do anything and was no where near a top prospect unlike d'arnaud who is one of the worst "highly touted" prospects I have ever seen..so far

Vincent Santiago
Vincent Santiago

He's going to be good. He's already good. Give the kid a break its not like theres anything else worth watching outside of him, deGrom, and Granderson.  

11gilkey
11gilkey

TC should bench him for a week and start Chris Young and Eric Young.  That should help him get out of his funk.  

rodd
rodd

GARY COHEN IS A GREAT ANNOUNCER  KEITH HAS AN EGO THE SIZE OF NY. 

William Kelley
William Kelley

Obviously doesn't read the spin of the ball well yet as chases too many sliders off the plate with 2 strikes. Needs to cut down swing and go the other way on outside pitches. He will be fine with experience. Certainly not the major concern on this roster

Cory Nesser
Cory Nesser

terry will probably move him to 2nd base and bat him 4th.

Robert Nolan
Robert Nolan

Or is this closer to who he really is? I worried he was overachieving before he got hurt. Hoping this isn't proof that I was right....

rodd
rodd

HOW MUCH MONEY DOES KEVEN MAKE FOR HIS NONSENSICAL BS INTERRUPTING  4 TIMES A GAME!

Mark Dietrich
Mark Dietrich

Does it really matter this team sux with or without him

rodd
rodd

I WISH HE WOULD SHOW MORE POWER. HE IS A BIG GUY AND MAYBE IN THE NEAR FUTURE CAN BE A HOME RUN HITTER.

James
James

@elgiacomo Ok, I agree Legares should be playing over CY, but to say Legares has "proven more than CY ever will" is factually false as CY has definitely achieved more than Legares and likely more than Legares ever will.  Legares has achieved more than CY ever will AGAIN, that I could agree with.

James
James

@nhmetsfan And you couldn't get a smaller sample size if you tried, I find the stat rather over-rated myself.

sandybgone
sandybgone

@nwmets and the sad thing is you wish we could be joking


"new york prospects"...that should be their name lol

Tom Gallagher
Tom Gallagher

@sandybgone  d'Arnaud is hitting .348 in the six games since his return from Triple-A where he hit .436 with 6 HRs. What struggles are you speaking of?

C.K. Dexter Haven
C.K. Dexter Haven

@sandybgone Bruh, i love Lagares too.  But A. nothing Maggie wrote is incorrect, and B. nothing you wrote really has anything to do with the fact that Lagares isn't hitting the way he did earlier in the season.  I don't know if his strain still bothers him or if he's just still a very raw player. (some of his swings suggest the latter)  Honestly, though...not sure this piece even needed to be written.  No one is going to convince you, me or most fans that Lagares isn't the best option for the Mets in CF. Had he gone 0-4 last night, i STILL would've wanted him out there today after that catch... 

Vincent Santiago
Vincent Santiago

@rodd Good talk. You know why Keith has that ego? Because he's one of the greatest of all time at anything he's ever done baseball related.  

11gilkey
11gilkey

@rodd I wish you would turn your Caps Lock off.  

jaydhn
jaydhn

@Steven Matregrano @rodd you're right...  the guy who still leads the team in WAR should not be penciled in for anything...........

nwmets
nwmets

@11gilkey The sad thing is, he doesn't even know where that key is.

ericloz
ericloz

@nwmets @11gilkey  You know, now he's looking on his latch key chain looking for a "Caps Lock" key that fits in his keyboard.