One of the more troubling areas for the New York Mets to address is their outfield. The team's outfield has struggled mightily this season, and that includes glimpses of the team's prospects from AAA Buffalo, such as Lucas Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis. While Matt Den Dekker is a potential September call up for the Amazin's, the team does have some interesting pieces in its lower levels. One of them is outfielder Juan Lagares, who is currently playing for the Binghamton Mets. Lagares, 23, is 6'1 and weighs 180 pounds. He has battled injuries throughout his career, which explains why he has only reached AA even though he signed with the Mets when he was 17 years old.
Lagares is best known for his contact hitting and speed, as he is hitting .275 with 20 stolen bases for the B-Mets this season. Lagares has never been known for his power, as he has never hit more than nine home runs in a minor league season, and his plate discipline does leave something to be desired. Lagares has developed a reputation of a free swinger, and he has been trying to develop more plate discipline in the minors. Lagares has drawn 37 walks this season, which is a career high, but he has also struck out 83 times over 451 at bats. Lagares' defense is also solid, as he has the capability to play all three outfield positions. His defense, however, probably leaves him better suited to one of the outfield corners.
Lagares, who has drawn comparisons to Manny Ramirez from some scouts, likely will not reach that level of production when he reaches the majors. He should have a solid major league career as a good starting outfielder or a very good fourth outfielder. Lagares, who is on the team's 40 man roster, will likely finish out this season with Binghamton and be invited to major league spring training next season so the coaching staff can get a better read on his abilities. Lagares will likely start 2013 in Triple-A, but there is an outside shot he could make the big league club out of spring training next season.
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