The Mets have given Lagares every opportunity to put his offense on display this spring. Today, he is tied with Chris Young for the team lead in at-bats, with twenty-five. He has made the most of them. Lagares is also tied for the team lead in hits (due in part to his elevated number of at-bats), with eight. In fact, Lagares has reached safely in six of the eight games his played in, posting a .320 average in the process. Still..questions linger.
Lagares has managed just one extra base hit thus far this spring. He has also continued to strike out at a rate north of 20%. That too, paired with the fact that he's drawn only one walk and the same criticisms that landed his role in jeopardy still remain. However, Lagares has shined in the field. He's made several acrobatic plays in center-field and has a could outfield assists to his credit already.
If the Mets are going to sit the youngster in an effort to insert Eric Young Jr. into the leadoff spot, Lagares is not making the decision easy for them. Perhaps that in and of itself is a good sign for the young defensive wizard. He has risen to the challenge, and while there is really not reason to think he will hit .320 all year, Lagares is hitting and that can't be taken away from him.
I know I've said this before, but Lagares has hit for a high average at every level coming up through the minor leagues. Obviously that doesn't mean he's going to replicate that at baseball's highest level, but I'm inclined to believe he's better than the .242 average he put up in 2013. Its impossible to ignore what he brings to the game defensively. He plays center-field effortlessly and has an arm the match. Still he will have to prove his offensive worth going forward. Lagares is still my Opening Day center-fielder and in my opinion should be an everyday player for the Mets this season. Should the Mets make an addition at shortstop, his cause could be aided. However for now, his fate remains in the hands of the Mets brass who appear enamored with the idea of Eric Young Jr. batting lead off, and that remains his biggest hurdle.