The New York Mets can't ignore the fact that Juan Lagares is making a great case to become an everyday center fielder.
Lagares made that case even stronger on Monday against the Minnesota Twins, as he made one of the best catches of the year, snagging the ball over his head before colliding with the center field wall.
Josh Willingham was sure that he had a hit on this play, and he was already thinking about a double (if not a triple). But Lagares came out of nowhere to make the grab and end the first inning with a bang.
This isn't the first time we've seen Lagares make an exceptional catch. He made this circus grab earlier this year, reaching out to stop the ball from hitting the ground and then snatching it as he crashed into the ground.
While the Mets have had a rough year, going 56-66 and sitting 19 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East, the team has made some truly remarkable plays in the field, leading the MLB in No. 1 Web Gems with nine.
Lagares has been a major reason why the team has had so many Web Gems this season, ranking among the top defensive center fielders in baseball.
Juan Lagares ranks 2nd among CF with 20 Defensive Runs Saved in 2013, Carlos Gomez has the most with 27. #Mets— SportsGuy (@_ArmChairQB) August 19, 2013
Juan Lagares should win the Gold Glove for NL Center Fielders. If he doesn't it just proves these awards are all politics.— Matt Goldfine (@mjgmet) August 19, 2013
Despite playing in just 84 games this year compared to Gomez's 114, Lagares saves a run in every 4.20 games compared to Gomez's 4.22.
Lagares would be arguably the best defensive center fielder in baseball if he played every day, and he's certainly making a case to do so.
Marc Carig of Newsday has noticed Lagares' potential, and he has fallen in love with the skilled fielder.
Juan Lagares over his head and into the wall. This is a big yard and Lagares covers every inch of it. Great catch.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) August 19, 2013
Juan Lagares keeps reaching base somehow That time, looked like the ball got stuck in Plouffe's glove.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) August 19, 2013
Juan Lagares doesn't need to leave the infield to rack up the hits. Nice bunt. Bases loaded for Quintanilla.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) August 19, 2013
In short, it's easy to see why the Mets coaches are high on Juan Lagares.— Marc Carig (@MarcCarig) August 19, 2013
Can you say "bromance"?
Carig isn't the only one who's been taken by Lagares' potential, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post has also noticed him (h/t SNY.tv).
Lagares has really impressed me, and our scouts and I think he’s a much better value—and very likely a better player—than Bourn for 2013-2016. He isn’t as polished right now, but he may be the best defensive center fielder in the NL right now with apologies to Andrew McCutchen. He’s a young, cheap, high-upside piece for the future. I would rather have Lagares through 2016 than Bourn independent of the money because the former has more upside and is younger and will continue to improve.
The 24-year-old Lagares is having a fantastic rookie season, not only impressing with his glove but also with his bat. He is hitting .258 with four dingers and 25 RBI in 84 games and has been getting consistently better.
Lagares' latest grab has him turning heads yet again, and he may soon secure a role as the Mets' everyday center fielder.