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"The average center fielder makes an 'out of zone' catch every 14 innings," explains Mark Simon of ESPN New York. "Juan Lagares has made one every seven innings, basically amounting to one per game."

Lagares has made 33 out of zone catches this season; that's three more than Rick Ankiel, Jordany Valdespin, Collin Cowgill, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Eric Young, and Marlon Byrd combined, and in nearly half the innings.

"The net payoff has been good, particularly when you factor in that he's also thrown out four baserunners attempting to take an extra base," Simon said.

Remember when defense was fun to watch, Mets fans? If you don't, you should tune in more often. Juan Lagares has been sensational in the field, and these numbers bring that out in undeniable fashion. He is quite unassuming upon first glance, but when you watch him run you see him kick it into another gear, chasing down batted balls in the gap in both directions.

The stat comparing his out of zone catches with the rest of the team is just astonishing. When you combine that with his arm, Lagares has certainly earned the right to be considered a potential piece of the puzzle moving forward.

As far as his offense goes, I'll just say this: despite his struggles and seemingly off-balance approach, he's hit .291/.291/.418 this month. I'll let Maggie go to town on his BABIP in another post (and rightfully so), but I don't think I'm alone when I pray the Mets might have something, here. At the very least, this work-in-progress at the plate comes with defensive value right out of the box.

To read more from Simon on Lagares in center field, as well as Terry Collins' thoughts, check out this post for ESPN NY.

Tags: matthewcerrone, takajoblogger, awharton, avsny, MetsBlog, danasorkin , Matthew Cerrone
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