Scouting Mets Prospect #15: Juan Lagares

The New York Mets signed the shortstop out of the Dominican Republic in the summer of 2005. Lagares, another fast mover, debuted in the Dominican Summer League in 2006 before jumping all the way to long-season ball the following spring. He is still a raw talent but has tremendous upside and a lot more physical growth to endure.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Juan Lagares
DOB: March 17, 1989
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 175
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Status: Free Agent Signing (2005) – Dominican Republic

There was great anticipation when shortstop Juan Lagares entered the Mets organization as a free agent signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2005. At that time, then 16-year-old Lagares was looked at through the same lens many saw a young Jose Reyes—and athletic shortstop with run-producing ability thanks to a quick stroke and established gap power.

Lagares spent his first summer after signing in the Dominican Summer League where he hit .255, smacked three home runs, drove in 33 runs, scored 36 runs and stole 12 bases. He appeared to have the full compliment of tools that warranted a fast rise through the system.

The Mets went on to challenge Lagares, much like they did Ruben Tejada in 2008, by sending him straight to a long-season league in his first year playing ball stateside. In his second year, he spent 83 games in the South Atlantic League as Savannah's starting shortstop.

It proved to be a battle throughout the season as he hit just .210 with two home runs and 16 RBI in 281 at-bats, but showed flashes of that talent first scouted. He showed the crisp swing and contact skills that first enticed the organization to sign him.

It was expected that Lagares would take the next step last spring when he was assigned to Savannah to begin the 2008 season. However, a right shoulder injury delayed the start of his season until mid-July and it took him virtually the remainder of the season to once again feel comfortable.

In his first few weeks back, Lagares hit .261 with a home run but just two additional extra base hits and three runs scored as he readjusted to playing every day. But the production never really came together for him as the shoulder continued to test him. He wrapped up his stay with Savannah by hitting .251 with one more home run and driving 13 additional runs before he was sent to Brooklyn.

His move to Brooklyn should not be looked at as a demotion as the club's shortstop position was a season-long revolving door. Lagares' presence gave him the opportunity to endure what was essentially a "rehab" assignment while providing the Cyclones with a shortstop for their stretch run.

He fared well during his brief stay in the New York-Penn League as he hit .250 with a home run and seven RBI in 19 games, but heading into the new season the focus will be getting Lagares to 400 at-bats.

To date, his playing time has been lessened by injury, split time or by the depth chart, but if and when he can finally collects a full season's worth of at-bats, Lagares' talents and ability to produce should come to the surface.

His maturation has not come as quickly as once hoped even for a 19-year-old. His talents have yet to produce the numbers, but he continues to flash the tools that has scouts believing he will piece it together in time.

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2008

Brooklyn

..250

72

18

1

7

8

1

1

10

..280

.389

2008

Savannah

..254

181

46

2

17

14

3

8

28

..285

.337

2007

Savannah

.210

281

59

2

16

26

11

18

64

.262

.317



Batting and Power: Lagares currently boasts a good contact stroke with established line drive and gap power. He tends to be pull happy but as he becomes more proficient against breaking and off-speed pitches, he will be able to hit to all fields with greater regularity. He does not walk as much as coaches and scouts would like, but he is young, aggressive, wants to put balls in play. There is not an immediate need to change that because of his good plate discipline and limited amount of strikeouts. The ball comes off his bat well, but he is expected to put on a good amount of size in coming years which will allow his unforeseen power to come to the surface.

Base Running and Speed: Lagares boasts average speed and will likely not be much of a base stealer in the future, but his speed will become less of a factor as he grows stronger and generates more runs with his bat. He is still an aggressive base runner who looks to take any opportunity afforded to him, but speed is not one of his primary weapons.

Defense: At times, Lagares showed flashes of brilliance at shortstop, but was far too inconsistent for the organization to feel good about leaving him in that spot over the long haul. Despite a strong arm, his footwork and ability to read the ball off the bat were very shaky at times, leading to 63 errors combined over the past two seasons. Nonetheless, he has many believing that a switch to the outfield—for which he has the arm—will not only provide defensive stability, but allow him to have more relaxed concentration at the plate and thus spark the production that currently lies dormant.

Projection: His numbers may dictate otherwise, but Lagares has demonstrated skills with the bat that have many believing he will be a viable offense-first player at the highest level. A switch from shortstop to the outfield is likely in coming years, but it will be his offense that carries him the rest of the way. When that move comes is to be determined, but with the growing logjam of middle infield talent at the lower levels that adjustment should come in the near future. His career to date has been disrupted by injuries, but if the organization were to simply put Lagares in the outfield and let him eat up playing time and experience, he should grow into an accomplished player who will hit for average, power and provide the athleticism to hold down left field.

ETA: 2012. Lagares spent the last few weeks of the 2008 season in Brooklyn, but he should still be in position to earn his way onto the St. Lucie roster to begin the new season. His youth and comparatively brief amount of time spent on the diamond the last two seasons will likely require three more seasons on the farm before breaking through in 2012.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Juan Lagares
\r\nDOB: March 17, 1989
\r\nHeight: 6'1\"
\r\nWeight: 175
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\nStatus: Free Agent Signing (2005) – Dominican Republic
\r\n
\r\nThere was great anticipation when shortstop Juan Lagares entered the Mets organization as a free agent signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2005. At that time, then 16-year-old Lagares was looked at through the same lens many saw a young Jose Reyes—and athletic shortstop with run-producing ability thanks to a quick stroke and established gap power.
\r\n
\r\nLagares spent his first summer after signing in the Dominican Summer League where he hit .255, smacked three home runs, drove in 33 runs, scored 36 runs and stole 12 bases. He appeared to have the full compliment of tools that warranted a fast rise through the system.
\r\n
\r\nThe Mets went on to challenge Lagares, much like they did Ruben Tejada in 2008, by sending him straight to a long-season league in his first year playing ball stateside. In his second year, he spent 83 games in the South Atlantic League as Savannah's starting shortstop.
\r\n
\r\nIt proved to be a battle throughout the season as he hit just .210 with two home runs and 16 RBI in 281 at-bats, but showed flashes of that talent first scouted. He showed the crisp swing and contact skills that first enticed the organization to sign him.
\r\n
\r\nIt was expected that Lagares would take the next step last spring when he was assigned to Savannah to begin the 2008 season. However, a right shoulder injury delayed the start of his season until mid-July and it took him virtually the remainder of the season to once again feel comfortable.
\r\n
\r\nIn his first few weeks back, Lagares hit .261 with a home run but just two additional extra base hits and three runs scored as he readjusted to playing every day. But the production never really came together for him as the shoulder continued to test him. He wrapped up his stay with Savannah by hitting .251 with one more home run and driving 13 additional runs before he was sent to Brooklyn.
\r\n
\r\nHis move to Brooklyn should not be looked at as a demotion as the club's shortstop position was a season-long revolving door. Lagares' presence gave him the opportunity to endure what was essentially a \"rehab\" assignment while providing the Cyclones with a shortstop for their stretch run.
\r\n
\r\nHe fared well during his brief stay in the New York-Penn League as he hit .250 with a home run and seven RBI in 19 games, but heading into the new season the focus will be getting Lagares to 400 at-bats.
\r\n
\r\nTo date, his playing time has been lessened by injury, split time or by the depth chart, but if and when he can finally collects a full season's worth of at-bats, Lagares' talents and ability to produce should come to the surface.
\r\n
\r\nHis maturation has not come as quickly as once hoped even for a 19-year-old. His talents have yet to produce the numbers, but he continues to flash the tools that has scouts believing he will piece it together in time.
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n AVG.

\r\n

\r\n AB

\r\n

\r\n Hits

\r\n

\r\n HR

\r\n

\r\n RBI

\r\n

R

\r\n

\r\n SB

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

K

\r\n

\r\n OBP

\r\n

\r\n SLG

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n Brooklyn

\r\n

\r\n ..250

\r\n

\r\n 72

\r\n

\r\n 18

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 7

\r\n

\r\n 8

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 10

\r\n

\r\n ..280

\r\n

\r\n .389

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n Savannah

\r\n

\r\n ..254

\r\n

\r\n 181

\r\n

\r\n 46

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 17

\r\n

\r\n 14

\r\n

\r\n 3

\r\n

\r\n 8

\r\n

\r\n 28

\r\n

\r\n ..285

\r\n

\r\n .337

\r\n

\r\n 2007

\r\n

\r\n Savannah

\r\n

\r\n .210

\r\n

\r\n 281

\r\n

\r\n 59

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 16

\r\n

\r\n 26

\r\n

\r\n 11

\r\n

\r\n 18

\r\n

\r\n 64

\r\n

\r\n .262

\r\n

\r\n .317


\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power: Lagares currently boasts a good contact stroke with established line drive and gap power. He tends to be pull happy but as he becomes more proficient against breaking and off-speed pitches, he will be able to hit to all fields with greater regularity. He does not walk as much as coaches and scouts would like, but he is young, aggressive, wants to put balls in play. There is not an immediate need to change that because of his good plate discipline and limited amount of strikeouts. The ball comes off his bat well, but he is expected to put on a good amount of size in coming years which will allow his unforeseen power to come to the surface.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed: Lagares boasts average speed and will likely not be much of a base stealer in the future, but his speed will become less of a factor as he grows stronger and generates more runs with his bat. He is still an aggressive base runner who looks to take any opportunity afforded to him, but speed is not one of his primary weapons.
\r\n
\r\nDefense: At times, Lagares showed flashes of brilliance at shortstop, but was far too inconsistent for the organization to feel good about leaving him in that spot over the long haul. Despite a strong arm, his footwork and ability to read the ball off the bat were very shaky at times, leading to 63 errors combined over the past two seasons. Nonetheless, he has many believing that a switch to the outfield—for which he has the arm—will not only provide defensive stability, but allow him to have more relaxed concentration at the plate and thus spark the production that currently lies dormant.
\r\n
\r\nProjection: His numbers may dictate otherwise, but Lagares has demonstrated skills with the bat that have many believing he will be a viable offense-first player at the highest level. A switch from shortstop to the outfield is likely in coming years, but it will be his offense that carries him the rest of the way. When that move comes is to be determined, but with the growing logjam of middle infield talent at the lower levels that adjustment should come in the near future. His career to date has been disrupted by injuries, but if the organization were to simply put Lagares in the outfield and let him eat up playing time and experience, he should grow into an accomplished player who will hit for average, power and provide the athleticism to hold down left field.
\r\n
\r\nETA: 2012. Lagares spent the last few weeks of the 2008 season in Brooklyn, but he should still be in position to earn his way onto the St. Lucie roster to begin the new season. His youth and comparatively brief amount of time spent on the diamond the last two seasons will likely require three more seasons on the farm before breaking through in 2012.
\r\n
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