Juan Osvaldo Lagares (born March 17, 1989) is a Dominican professional baseball center fielder for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut during the 2013 season. Known for his defensive prowess, he won the National League Gold Glove Award in 2014.
Lagares with the New York Mets in 2013
|New York Mets – No. 12|
|Born: March 17, 1989|
Constanza, Dominican Republic
|April 23, 2013, for the New York Mets|
|MLB statistics |
(through May 15, 2018)
|Runs batted in||152|
|Career highlights and awards|
Lagares grew up in a cool, mountainous area in Constanza, Dominican Republic. There were few baseball facilities or teams in the area so Lagares grew up playing softball. He has credited his arm strength to his background in throwing the larger, heavier softball. Lagares did not transition to playing baseball until he was already a teenager. After only seven or eight months practicing at a baseball academy, he was signed as a shortstop by the New York Mets.
Lagares was signed by the New York Mets as a non-drafted free agent on May 5, 2006. Lagares was moved from shortstop to the outfield in 2009. He was assigned to the DSL Mets in 2006, where in 57 games, he hit .255/.339/.412 with 18 XBH, 33 RBI and 12 SB. Lagares was promoted to Single-A Savannah for 2007, where in 83 games, he hit .210/.262/.317 with 20 XBH, 16 RBI and 11 SB. After an arm issue occurred, his 2008 debut, with Savannah, happened in late June. After 46 games with Savannah, Lagares was demoted to Low-A Brooklyn in the middle of August. In 65 total games, he hit .253/.284/.352 with 3 HR and 24 RBI. Lagares began 2009 with Savannah, but a wrist injury suffered in late May ended most of his season. He came back in September after a rehab stint with the GCL Mets. In 53 total games, he hit .266/.297/.323 with 14 RBI and 10 SB. Lagares began 2010 with Savannah, and after hitting .300/.318/.459 with 5 HR, 39 RBI and 18 SB in 67 games, he was promoted to High-A St. Lucie, but was limited to 33 games there after a fractured ankle ended his season on July 28.
2011 was a breakout season for Lagares. He began with St. Lucie, where he tore it up before being promoted to Double-A Binghamton. In 120 games total, he hit .349/.383/.500 with 9 HR, 71 RBI and 15 SB. Lagares was added to the Mets 40 man roster on November 18, 2011. He played 2012 with Binghamton, where in 130 games, he hit .283/.334/.389 with 4 HR, 48 RBI and 21 SB. Lagares began 2013 with Triple-A Las Vegas as their center fielder, where he played in 17 games before getting called to New York.
On April 23, Lagares was called up by the Mets with Kirk Nieuwenhuis being sent down to the 51s. Lagares made his debut on the same day against the Los Angeles Dodgers coming in as a part of a double switch in the fifth inning. In the bottom of the seventh inning he recorded his first hit, a single, off Paco Rodriguez. Lagares hit his first major league home run on May 19, against Travis Wood of the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
For the week of July 15–21, 2013, Lagares won the NL Player of the Week Award. In that week, Lagares hit .700 with a home run and 5 RBI. In 121 games for the Mets, he hit .242/.281/.352 with 4 HR and 34 RBI. Lagares had a .983 fielding percentage, as well as leading the MLB in assists at center field (14), defensive runs saved (26) and the NL in Range Factor/9 innings at center field (2.98).
On August 20, Lagares ranked second among center fielders in Defensive Runs Saved with 20 behind Carlos Gómez with 27. In September, he was named MLB's best defender for the month of August. He led the majors with 12 defensive runs saved and led the National League, and ranked second in the majors, in outfield assists with 12. He set the Mets franchise rookie record with 15 outfield assists. His 3.5 dWAR was second only to Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez (4.6) among National League center fielders. He was named as the Mets best defensive player during Wilson's Defensive Player of the Year Awards.
Lagares finished the 2013 season appearing in 121 games with a batting average of .242 in 392 at-bats in 421 plate appearances while compiling 95 hits, 34 RBIs, 4 home runs, 20 walks, 35 runs scored and striking out 96 times.
In December, he played in the Dominican Professional Baseball League for the Águilas Cibaeñas ultimately winning the Rookie of the Year award. He hit .342 with one HR, 16 RBI, five stolen bases and seven walks in 114 at-bats.
Lagares made the Mets' roster for Opening Day in 2014. On April 14, he left due to an injury during a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Lagares grabbed his hamstring after beating out a double play in the seventh inning. The next day he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a pulled right hamstring. He was batting .314 with a .345 OBP, five extra base hits and seven RBIs in the 13 games. He was recalled from rehabbing with the 51s on May 1.
In Mid-May, Mets fans on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook became frustrated with manager Terry Collins sitting Lagares on the bench since coming off the disabled list. As of May 16, he was benched for the fourth time in five games. Mets fans soon started a campaign called #FreeLagares to express their anger over him being benched. Although Lagares had been struggling since coming back from the disabled list, however his defensive capability and clutch hitting was touted as being reason enough for him to be put in the lineup. On June 2, he was placed again on the disabled list with a right intercostal strain. On June 26, Wilmer Flores was sent down to the 51s to make room for Lagares coming of the disabled list. On September 23, he was shut down for the rest of the season with a sprained elbow.
At the end of the season he improved his hitting over the past season, increasing his average by nearly 40 points, from .242 to .281.
Lagares finished the 2014 season appearing in 116 games with a batting average of .281 in 416 at-bats in 452 plate appearances while compiling 117 hits, 47 RBIs, 4 home runs, 20 walks, 46 runs scored and striking out 87 times.
On November 4, it was announced that he had won his first Gold Glove Award. He was the third outfielder in franchise history to win a Gold Glove award, the others being Tommie Agee (1970) and Carlos Beltrán (2006-08). He also won the Fielding Bible Award as the statistically best defensive center fielder in the National League.
On April 2, Lagares and the Mets agreed to a four-year extension worth $23 million which will run from 2016 through 2019. The Mets have a $9.5 million option for 2020, with a $500,000 buyout. Lagares made the team out of spring training as the starting center fielder. On July 31, the Mets traded for Yoenis Céspedes, who would play center regularly throughout the season. Lagares moved to backup outfield role, regularly coming in as defensive substitution late in the game.
Lagares finished the 2015 season appearing in 143 games batting .259./.289/.358 in 441 at-bats in 465 plate appearances while compiling 114 hits, 41 RBIs, 6 home runs, 16 walks, 47 runs scored and striking out 87 times.
In the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he hit .429 in 4 games while compiling 3 hits, 2 doubles, 1 walk and scoring 3 runs. In the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs, he hit .333 in 4 games with 2 hits, 2 runs scored, 1 stolen base and striking out 2 times. In the World Series against the Kansas City Royals, he hit .300 in all 5 games with 3 hits, 2 runs scored, 1 stolen base and striking out 1 time.
Lagares made the Mets' Opening Day Roster in 2016, serving as a backup outfielder, pinch hitter and defensive substitution. On June 16 the Mets placed Lagares on the disabled list due to a sprained left thumb he had suffered while making a diving catch in a game on June 4. He again went on the 15-day disabled list from July 29-September 16 for his sprained left thumb, and then had surgery on August 1 to repair a torn ligament in his thumb.
For the season, he batted .239/.301/.380.
Lagares battled injuries but contributed to the Mets with 58 starts and 252 at bats. He hit .250/.296/.365 for the year and participated in a deep and injury-riddled outfield in 2017.
- "Serby Q&A: Juan Lagares on why the Mets will make the playoffs". New York Post. February 21, 2015. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
- "Mets' center fielder Juan Lagares had sterling debut but needs to hit to win starting job". NJ.com. March 1, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
- "Juan Lagares Stats, Bio, Photos, Highlights". MiLB.com. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
- "Juan Lagares promotion appears looming". ESPN New York. April 22, 2013. Retrieved April 24, 2013.
- "Mets add 7 prospects to 40-man roster". ESPN New York. November 18, 2011. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
- "Updated: Mets promote Lagares, send Nieuwenhuis to Triple-A". MetsBlog.com. April 23, 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "Mets offense on a hot streak". MetsBlog.com. June 25, 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "Mets 101 Player Review Series: Juan Lagares". Sports Media 101. November 6, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
- "Series in Metrics: Mets vs. Padres/Twins". ESPN New York. August 19, 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "Defensive player of month: Juan Lagares". ESPN New York. September 2, 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "Juan Lagares was Mets best defensive player". MetsBlog.com. November 8, 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "Juan Lagares wins ROY in Dominican Winter League". MetsBlog.com. January 23, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "Granderson, Lagares both leave game with injury". MetsBlog.com. April 14, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "Lagares to DL, Nieuwenhuis recalled". MetsBlog.com. April 15, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "Juan Lagares is back, Kirk goes to Triple-A". MetsBlog.com. May 1, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "The latest example of Mets stupidity? Sitting Juan Lagares". New York Post. May 16, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "Juan Lagares to DL". MetsBlog.com. June 2, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "Juan Lagares activated, Wilmer Flores sent to Triple-A". MetsBlog.com. June 25, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "Lagares shut down for remainder of the season". MetsBlog.com. September 23, 2014. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- "Mets' Juan Lagares makes strides at the plate, still a star in center field: Season in review grades". nj.com. October 13, 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
- "Mets center fielder Juan Lagares wins 1st Gold Glove". New York Post. November 4, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
- "The 2014 Awards". The Fielding Bible. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved October 31, 2014.
- "Mets extend CF Juan Lagares through '19". ESPN New York. April 2, 2015. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- Rieber, Anthony (June 16, 2016). "Lagares placed on the 15 day DL with sprained left thumb". Newsday. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
- "Gee falls an inning short of 200 in Mets' loss". New York Post. September 26, 2013. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
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