The New York Mets have made a lost of roster changes recently, and one more they should make is sending rookie center fielder Juan Lagares back to the minors. It wouldn’t be meant as a punitive move, but for the sake of the Mets and the development of Lagares, it’s a move that needs to be made.
Since making his MLB debut, Lagares has flashed some impressive tools for the Mets. He’s played great outfield defense, shown off a strong arm and displayed some impressive speed on the base paths.
However, as a hitter, Lagares is still a bit raw for the big leagues. He’s had some nice hits and has even shown off good power to the gap, but he lacks patience and has looked foolish far too many times, swinging at pitches in the dirt. He is striking out far too much, and he could benefit from more time in the minors to improve his plate discipline.
Moreover, Lagares should be playing every day, and that’s not something that’s going to happen with the Mets right now. The newly-acquired Eric Young will likely be playing every day for the time being as the Mets try to see if he can fill their void in the leadoff spot. It’s difficult to take Marlon Byrd out of the lineup as he’s one of the team’s most productive hitters,. The Mets also need to be giving a lot of playing time to Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
For the time being, those three will be the primary outfielders for the Mets, so if Lagares isn’t going to play every day, the Mets need to send him back to the minors where he get more seasoning by getting regular playing time.
With the raw tools Lagares has shown since coming to the Mets, he certainly has a future in the big leagues because his defense and his speed are too good to ignore. However, he needs to become a better hitter with a more mature approach, because a .211 average isn’t going to cut it.
If he can get those issues figured out in the minors now, there’s hope that he can come back to the big leagues later in the season with the chance to become the Mets’ regular center fielder for the long term.