In the first two games since his return from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for a couple of weeks, Juan Lagares has shown no signs of rust in the batter’s box.
His defense will never be questioned because he is a gold-glove caliber outfielder, but Lagares is an improved hitter this year. Before he went down, he was the New York Mets‘ best option in their lineup, hitting for both power and average. It was difficult to see him go down with an injury because it could have disrupted his offensive rhythm and timing, but that isn’t happening with Lagares.
In the first two games against the Colorado Rockies, Lagares went 4-for-9 with three doubles. He is picking up right where he left off, and if he keeps hitting like this, he is going to be awfully difficult to remove from the lineup. Also, Terry Collins had him batting leadoff for the two games, and if you think about it, Lagares is a pretty good fit for that position. He possesses the speed to make him a threat on the basepaths, and he has the ability to go gap to gap. Lagares focused on cutting down his strikeouts from last year, and if he continues to do that, there isn’t any reason to move him from the leadoff spot.
But maybe the most important aspect regarding Lagares’ health is the fact that his strides look effortless when rounding the bases. It’s difficult to determine how long a hamstring injury may last. These types of injuries have the ability to linger for an entire season, and since Lagares has never really had a serious hamstring injury before, it would’ve been understandable if he protected it a bit as he ran, but that wasn’t the case. He looked as healthy and effective as he has ever been, and that is great news for the Mets.
The Mets’ offense may be struggling as a whole right now, but Lagares, injury and all, continues to be the bright spot on the team.