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Terry Collins Making a Mistake By Keeping Juan Lagares on Bench

by Craig Raulli | Posted on Friday, May 16th, 2014

A few weeks ago, New York Mets manager, Terry Collins said that Juan Lagares will be the everyday centerfielder.  It disgusts me that a few weeks late,r I am writing a blog about this. I could go off and spew stats, OBP, slugging and so on and so forth on why Lagares is a better player than Eric Young Jr. and Chris Young, but obviously with the moneyball mindset and the focus on these stats, the front office, and Collins know these stats.

So it comes down to what we see every day.

Lagares came up last year and immediately proved he could do one thing very well and that is field. Great speed in the outfield, an ability to read and get to fly balls, and a canon of an arm with great accuracy, he reminded me of the perennial gold glove center fielder for the Atlanta Braves, Andruw Jones. Lagares seemed to have a good approach at the plate, over anxious at times, which is normal for a rookie, but power to the opposite field and legitimate doubles power. There was talent at the plate, he just never truly reached his potential in his initial time up.

Then came the offseason where Lagares worked hard and hit well throughout winter ball. He came into spring training with more patience and making better contact, which he proved in spring training and so on into the beginning of the 2014 season.  Even after missing over two weeks with a hamstring injury, Lagares didn’t miss a beat in Colorado roping two doubles and driving in a run.

Lagares worked extremely hard during the off season to fix the holes in his game. Not only did he improve, but he was putting up great numbers, so when he works so hard and just starts sitting on the bench, it has to be so discouraging to a young man looking to play every day.

The young outfielder did exactly what he was suppose to do and was not rewarded, and that is a failure by the front office.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Then, things began to get baffling once we stepped into Yankee Stadium earlier this week.

In order to get speed and lefty bats into the lineup, Lagares was pulled in favor for Eric Young Jr and Bobby Abreu was the designated hitter, which seemed fair with Lagares coming off a hamstring injury. The Young’s both homered, and since then, Lagares has only started once despite huge mental errors by both Young’s in the game on Wednesday.

So, I sit here baffled at Lagares sitting. Here is a young kid who has shown he belongs, been one of our teams best hitters and defenders and here he is wasting away on the bench daily. The team keeps trying to resurrect  people’s careers as they did last year with Marlon Byrd and LaTroy Hawkins, so we sign Chris Young to see if he can regain his power. But he can’t. Young is a strikeout machine who hasn’t been able to reach his early potential. He’s a sub standard fielder who seems at times to lack baseball IQ. I believe he’s starting just because he stands to make the most money this year which is insane, as well as a ‘veteran’ presence in the outfield.  Collins love his power, but with his lack of contact, its another strikeout machine right behind Curtis Granderson.  Young is not the answer in the outfield, and in my personal opinion is the 4th outfielder for this team.

Now, Eric Young, a career bench player who’s only reason in the majors is speed. Speed can be very valuable, but without anything else its useless. He’s done a decent job of getting on base but at times is an automatic out constantly rolling over to weak grounders to first or the pitchers. His fielding; he always takes bad routes to the balls but has such great speed that he makes up for it. Though Collins loves his speed, he does not seem to understand that his bat can become a hindrance when the lineup shifts around.

Eric Young is a player who I prefer over Chris, only for the reason that he can score without hitting the ball out of the infield because of his amazing speed.  EY should be a starter only because this team lacks true speed and it’s something needed, though he should not be considered part of the Mets future because he doesn’t have enough tools.

To wrap this up, you need to see what Lagares’ ceiling is. I think it’s extremely high, I think he can be an All-Star some day, definitely a solid player.  Management needs to listen to the fans as well as what they see. With the recent outrage on Twitter, I know I am not the only one that sees Lagares’ potential.

So why, if this team is building toward the future are we playing a guy on a one year deal? Why are we playing a career bench player? Why not one of our players with the bright future?

I’ve been upset constantly by moves by this franchise time and time again, but I still love to root for this team. Collins needs to wake up and realize what he has, the talent that will show if he plays him every day.  Juan Lagares is wasting away on the bench and he could very well be the center fielder of our future, like Andruw Jones was.  The Mets are bringing up all their young pitchers and getting that set up, why not get our young every day players who are major league ready in the lineup?

For the Mets to figure out their future they must play their future! #FREEJUAN


Follow me on twitter @Kid_Craigi

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