LAGARES: Must show something. Photo Credit: Getty Images
By John Delcos
New York Mets manager Terry Collins insists Juan Lagares is his center fielder, yet benched him four games this week.
Personally, I thought Lagares should’ve opened the season in Triple-A Las Vegas, where he could’ve worked on his hitting mechanics and plate presence. I based this on his high strikeout ratio last year. Many Mets fans and columnists covering the team disagree with me, but that’s all right. I can live with that.
However, if Lagares is going to be at this level, then he has to play. Sitting him is a waste. He needs to play, which is why he needed to get back into the lineup today at Washington.
After a hot start in which he was hitting .338 as of May 4, Lagares went 5-for-27, which isn’t exactly an Ike Davis-type slump.
Lagares has sat four of the past five games because Collins is unhappy with his patience at the plate and habit of chasing bad pitches. Hell, I could have told you that … hell, I did tell you that.
But, he’s here, and part of learning how to be a major league hitter is learning how to break out of slumps. Lagares needs to face pitches off the plate and resist. You can’t do that on the bench.
If Collins wanted to bench Lagares for a game or two, that’s fine, but to shut him down four games is a mistake, primarily because it could raise doubts, but a young player will have enough as it is.
If Lagares goes 0-for-4 today, he still has to play Sunday. That’s the only way he will learn, and isn’t learning what this season is all about?
Here’s today’s lineup:
Eric Young, lf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Chris Young, rf
Eric Campbell, 1b
Juan Lagares, cf
Anthony Recker, c
Wilmer Flores, ss
Bartolo Colon, rhp
***John Delcos has covered Major League Baseball for over 20 years, including the Mets and Yankees since 1998. He is a Hall of Fame voter and owns and operates a Mets website, Newyorkmetsreport.com.