Mets' Juan Lagares: Frontrunner for starting gig in center field
Mets manager Mickey Callaway and team brass are leaning toward using Lagares as their primary center fielder while Michael Conforto (shoulder) is sidelined for at least the first month of the season, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports.
Conforto's absence to begin the year creates a major hole atop the lineup, but replacing his glove and range in center field is a greater concern, especially with negative defenders in Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce set to flank him. For that reason, Lagares, a 2014 Gold Glove award winner who remains the club's top defensive outfielder, looks to have an early edge on an everyday gig over Brandon Nimmo, who brings more on-base upside to the table. The prospect of consistent at-bats to begin the season should give Lagares some relevance in NL-only formats as a compiler, but once Conforto returns to full health, expect Lagares to settle back into his more optimal role as a late-inning defensive replacement.
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