Over the past two seasons we have seen New York Mets center fielder Juan Lagares become one of, if not the best defensive center fielders in all of baseball. Today he was named the Defensive Player of August, which is an honor that he deserves. This month he made a handful of ridiculous plays, it seems like every night he just does something that makes me say “wow”.
Lagares is capable of playing a shallow center field due to the great read he gets on the ball off the bat. He can track down almost anything out there, the burst of speed that he gets when going after a fly ball is like none other. There is no question that he is deserving of a Gold Glove Award here in 2014. He has done more than enough to prove how great of an outfielder he is and it is time he brings home some hardware for his efforts.
Entering the month of September, Lagares has saved the second most amount of runs in MLB with 30. Lagares only trails Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward who leads the league in runs saved with 34. Lagares leads MLB in defensive wins above replacement (WAR) with a mark of 3.58, the man who trails him is Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons won the Platinum Glove Award, which is awarded to the best defender in the game.
Lagares has only four outfield assists this year and the reason why he only has four is because no one runs on him anymore. Last year he showed off his arm to a tune of 14 outfield assists. Not only can he go get it with the best of them, but he has a world class arm as well. This year we have seen teams hold runners on a number of occasions when the ball has been hit to Lagares. This shows that teams respect his arm and they must think twice before testing him.
The Mets have had their share of solid defensive center fielders, but none like Lagares. That might be a bold statement, but this guy is just amazing out there in center field. He makes the most difficult plays look easy and the balls that you think he has no shot on, he ends up making a fantastic play. It is not often that a defensive player of his caliber comes along and Mets’ fans must enjoy it.
As this team grows, Lagares needs to be a mainstay out in center field. It looks like the Mets are going to live and die by their pitching, so it is essential that they have a guy like that roaming the outfield. It really does not get much better than him, and if he doesn’t win a Gold Glove this year I will be beside myself.