For the New York Mets, the roster moves keep on coming. General manager Sandy Alderson isn’t creating too many big waves with his early-season roster changes especially with the Mets off to a nice start, but he is making little tweaks to help the team. Most recently, he has called up rookie outfielder Juan Lagares, sending down Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
The promotion of Lagares comes at the right time as it gives the Mets an extra right-handed bat during their series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, during which the Dodgers will start three left-handed pitchers. Lagares will also balance out the Mets outfield, with three left-handed hitters and three right-handed batters.
In addition to making roster sense, Lagares has also earned this promotion. In 17 games in Triple-A this season, Lagares has hit .346/.378/.551 with eight extra-base hits. Lagares has regained the pop he had during the 2011 season, which first put him on the radar as a mid-level prospect with major league potential. The Mets could use that power right now, as well as the speed and athleticism he provides both in the field and on the base paths.
Although he didn’t start Tuesday night, Lagares did get his first major league hit and he does figure to get plenty of playing time, mostly in center field.
Until now, Collin Cowgill has gotten most of the starts for the Mets in center field against left-handed starters, but Lagares should begin to get those starts instead. Not only has Cowgill struggled to hit, but he also has not bought into the team philosophy of working counts, evidenced by the fact that he has drawn no walks this season.
Bringing up Lagares could give the Mets the spark they need in the outfield. A possible platoon of Lagares and Jordany Valdespin in center field will ensure the Mets lineup has speed and athleticism on a daily basis, which makes the call up a wise choice by Alderson.