You always want to be in a situation where you have players to spare in every position. Coming into the 2014 season, the New York Mets had exactly that. There was a crowded outfield, first base and pitchers to spare in the minors. It left the fans and sports talk hosts wondering just what they heck general manager Sandy Alderson was doing. No harm in stockpiling. When it comes to this team, you never know who is going to be the next player to hit the disabled list.
At the top of the stockpiling was the outfield. It appeared that maybe Alderson just did not have enough confidence in Juan Lagares as the fan base did. Despite what they wanted, the GM signed another outfielder in Chris Young. Well, as usual, one player went down. Yet as one went down, another rose up. It was believed, or rather hoped, that Lagares would be the every day center fielder. After all, they say if you want something, you have to go out and earn it. He did exactly that.
Right from spring training, the fans believed that Lagares is the man to own center field. From spectacular catches to key hits in games to start rallies, this player has earned his place as the breakout player of the year. Well, that is, for now he has.
During spring training, Alderson was quoted:
But ultimately it’s about hitting. He’s outstanding defensively, but you gotta play pretty outstanding defense, pretty consistently, to make up for deficiencies offensively. So that’ll be the question.
I remember a shortstop who was horrendous on the offense, but was a three time Gold Glove recipient. Hello, Rey Ordonez.
Mets fan Glenn Coffman had this to say about Lagares:
He’s the whole package. Great speed. Seems like he has some pop on the bat and, uh, he seems very hungry.
He’s hungry because while Young is out, this is his time to shine in hopes he remains the starting center fielder for the rest of the year. No disrespect to Young, of course.
So are the predictions for Breakout Player of the Year for Lagares justified? It is only two weeks into the season, but I would have to give a resounding, “hell yes”.
One shocking prediction was made by Jason Nazario who feels the player will be catcher Travis d’Arnaud. Here’s what he had to say:
He’s the guy that not only has to look at his pitching staff and handle his pitching staff pretty well, but at the same time he’s coming in with a, supposedly, with a big stick. We haven’t seen it just yet, I understand. Just a small sample. But if d’Arnaud can hit, and certainly be that type of player that, when he was brought here to New York in the R.A. Dickey trade, can be one of the, uh, pillars of the line up and also of their future as well.
Now there’s a bold prediction of a player who has yet to show that he will be living up to the hype that came with him.
Watch the video to see who else fans thought would be the Breakout Player of the Year.