To assess the defensive abilities of New York Mets center fielder Juan Lagares, we called upon a former major leaguer whose defensive skills were also top-notch.
“Juan Lagares’ ability to be in the right place makes me think we need a stat to measure teleportation accuracy,” said "Baseball Tonight" analyst and former outfielder Doug Glanville.
Unfortunately, we can’t quite provide what Doug is looking for. But we can try to do Lagares’ month justice in words, numbers and pictures. Lagares won the voting for our Defensive Player of the Month for August on the strength of his major league-leading 13 Defensive Runs Saved. It’s the second consecutive August in which Lagares copped the award, this time beating out Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons, Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick.
Lagares entered September with 30 Defensive Runs Saved for the season. He’s the first outfielder to post back-to-back seasons of 25 Defensive Runs Saved since 2003, when Baseball Info Solutions (a data-tracking service for teams and media) began tallying the stat.
Click on these three plays for a few demonstrations of Lagares’ skills.
Aug. 2: Lagares makes a sprinting, leaping catch in left center field to rob Brandon Belt of an extra-base hit. Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) calculates that balls hit to that spot with that hang time are hits 76 percent of the time over the past calendar year.
Aug. 5: Lagares charges in to make a diving catch and take a hit away from Denard Span.
BIS has this charted as falling in for a hit 80 percent of the time.
Aug. 26: Lagares comes in and makes another diving catch of a hard-hit line drive by Braves pitcher Alex Wood. BIS has this as being a hit 98 percent of the time, though Lagares did have the advantage of playing shallow with the pitcher up. Regardless, it was a pretty tough play.
We didn’t even reference Lagares’ arm, which last season garnered 15 assists. This season, he only has four, but that’s largely because there is a reluctance to test his throwing arm. Last season, opponents took an extra base (went first to third or second to home on a single, or went first to home on a double) on 42 percent of hits that Lagares fielded. This season, that number dropped to 35 percent. In August, he held runners to a 24 percent extra-base advancement rate.
Case in point came in the Mets' most recent series against the Philadelphia Phillies when Ben Revere (who entered September with 40 steals) held at third on a Lagares-fielded hit. We’d venture to say Revere would have tested any other center fielder in the game.
Mets manager Terry Collins has frequently compared Lagares to former Gold Glove winner Devon White. Mets first base coach Tom Goodwin had another name in mind while talking with ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin, one who actually tormented the Mets with great plays with his glove and arm regularly while playing for the Braves -- Andruw Jones.
“He gives himself an opportunity to make the plays that he needs to make," Goodwin said of Lagares. “And then when you throw his arm in there as well -- and he plays shallow, he knows when to come in -- he’s going to have a pretty good chance of throwing somebody out at home. It makes him that kind of dual- or triple-threat outfielder.
“He gets good jumps. And a lot of guys have to slow down when they’re coming up to the ball in order to catch it. He’s one of those guys who can maintain his speed and still be under control enough to make an accurate throw. Those things are hard to do. I had enough trouble myself, when I was playing, just trying to catch it. So I always had to slow down. And then I’d have to try to pick up my momentum. But he seems to be able to maintain that speed while he’s coming up to catch the ball and he maintains it all the way through.”
It’s not just those on Lagares’ team who feel this way. "I saw him last year, and he was impressive,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said at Citi Field last week. “I said to my coaches, he might be the best center fielder in the National League. Now, a year later, there's no doubt about it.”
FIRST PITCH: After an ugly game in the series opener, the Mets look to rebound Tuesday in Game 2 of their series against the Miami Marlins.
Jonathon Niese (7-10, 3.48 ERA) opposes right-hander Brad Penny (1-0, 5.40) at 7:10 p.m.
With Philadelphia no-hitting Atlanta on Monday, the Phillies (63-74) again are only a half-game behind the Mets (64-74) for fourth place in the NL East. So some scoreboard watching may be in order at Marlins Park.
Meanwhile, back in New York, Josh Edgin and Daisuke Matsuzaka are expected to have their pitching elbows examined by team doctors. Edgin has bone spurs, and it is possible he will learn those need to be surgically removed. Terry Collins is unsure whether Edgin will return this season.
Tuesday’s news reports:
• The Mets committed six errors, one shy of matching the franchise record, and lost to Miami, 9-6, on Labor Day at Marlins Park. The Marlins scored three eighth-inning runs while producing only one hit in the frame. Jeurys Familia had two errors and a run-scoring wild pitch that inning. Erik Goeddel walked in a run in his major league debut. Dilson Herrera had his first major league homer and also a two-run triple, but committed two errors. Zack Wheeler allowed five runs (two earned) and lasted only 4 2/3 innings because of a high pitch count.
Collins bluntly said afterward that the team’s showing did not resemble a “big-league baseball game.”
“They are not mental errors. They are just execution errors,” David Wright, who had one of the errors, told reporters postgame. “That is not an excuse for them, and obviously you’re not going to win games committing six errors, but they happen, and a lot of times they happen in bunches.”
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.
• Read more on Wheeler in the Post.
• Clark Spencer in the Miami Herald chronicles Penny’s feud with the Mets during the right-hander’s first tour of duty with the Marlins, back in 2001. It stemmed in part from Tsuyoshi Shinjo touching the plate after a homer and also swinging at a 3-0 pitch in a rout. The feud escalated with Todd Zeile barking at Penny after a subsequent homer. Writes Spencer:
When the pitcher and hitter came face to face in subsequent showdowns, Penny often threw behind Zeile’s back as a warning. Though [Mike] Redmond declined to be interviewed for this article, he has said previously that Zeile turned to him after one of Penny’s warning shots and said, “Is this ever going to end?”
• The Brooklyn Cyclones were eliminated on the final day of the regular season despite a 3-1 win against Staten Island. First-round pick Michael Conforto, promising shortstop prospect Amed Rosario and third baseman Jhoan Urena were promoted to Savannah after the Cyclones’ elimination. Las Vegas, Binghamton and Savannah open the playoffs on Wednesday. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Bronx-raised T.J. Rivera finished with the top batting average among Mets minor leaguers at .349, while Cyclones right-hander Marcos Molina won the organization’s ERA crown at 1.77. View the organization’s final minor-league statistical leaders here.
• Rafael Montero should get a late-season start with the Mets.
• Bobby Parnell expects to get on a mound after Christmas.
• Lynn Worthy in the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin profiles 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo.
BIRTHDAYS: Hitting coach Lamar Johnson turns 64. ... The late Marv Throneberry was born on this date in 1933. ... Minor-league right-hander Jake Kuebler is 25.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
Average: T.J. Rivera, Binghamton, .349; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, .343; Dilson Herrera, Binghamton, .323; Jean Rodriguez, Brooklyn, .311; Kevin Plawecki, Vegas, .309; John Mora, Brooklyn, .307; Enmanuel Zabala, GCL Mets, .301; L.J. Mazzilli, Vegas, .301; Jhoan Urena, Brooklyn, .300; Wuilmer Becerra, Kingsport, .300.
Homers: Brian Burgamy, Binghamton, 23; Andrew Brown, Vegas, 21; Dustin Lawley, Binghamton, 20; Allan Dykstra, Vegas, 16; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 15.
RBIs: L.J. Mazzilli, Vegas, 79; Brian Burgamy, Binghamton, 76; T.J. Rivera, Binghamton, 75; Allan Dykstra, Vegas, 74; Dilson Herrera, Binghamton, 71.
Steals: Champ Stuart, Savannah, 29; Patrick Biondi, Savannah, 24; Dilson Herrera, Binghamton, 23; Matt Reynolds, Vegas, 20; Raphael Ramirez, GCL Mets, 18.
ERA: Marcos Molina, Brooklyn, 1.77; Steven Matz, Binghamton, 2.24; Corey Oswalt, Brooklyn, 2.26; Robert Gsellman, Savannah, 2.55; John Gant, Savannah, 2.56; Matt Bowman, Vegas, 3.21; Kevin McGowan, St. Lucie, 3.59; Casey Meisner, Brooklyn, 3.75; Tyler Pill, Binghamton, 3.97; Gabriel Ynoa, Binghamton, 4.07.
Wins: Greg Peavey, Binghamton, 12; Gabriel Ynoa, Binghamton, 11; Logan Verrett, Vegas, 11; John Gant, Savannah, 11.
Saves: Chasen Bradford, Vegas, 16; Akeel Morris, Savannah, 16; Cody Satterwhite, Binghamton, 15; Shane Bay, Brooklyn, 15; Robby Coles, St. Lucie, 13.
Strikeouts: Noah Syndergaard, Vegas, 145; Steven Matz, Binghamton, 131; Matt Bowman, Vegas, 124; Tyler Pill, Binghamton, 124; Greg Peavey, Binghamton, 123.
RICHMOND 12, BINGHAMTON 4: Newly promoted Tim Peterson was knocked out in the first inning in his Double-A debut. He surrendered five runs (four earned) and recorded only one out. The B-Mets stumble into the Eastern Division Championship Series against Portland on a season-high six-game losing streak. Tyler Pill starts Wednesday's playoff opener. Adam Kolarek took over for Peterson and notched the final two outs of the first, then worked a perfect second. His good fortune ended in the third when Clayton Blackburn produced a three-run double in what became a five-run frame as Richmond took a 10-0 lead. The B-Mets (83-59) completed the regular season with their second-highest win total in franchise history. Shortstop Gavin Cecchini (1-for-4) and catcher Cam Maron (1-for-2) collected hits in their Double-A debuts. Box
SAVANNAH 4, ROME 1: Rob Whalen tossed five scoreless innings as playoff-bound Savannah improved to 85-51 with a win in the regular-season finale. The Gnats, who posted an 85-51 record, open the playoffs on Wednesday at Asheville. Whalen went 9-1 with a 2.01 ERA in South Atlantic League play. Box
BROOKLYN 3, STATEN ISLAND 1: Despite winning their regular-season finale, the Cyclones were eliminated on the final day of the regular season when Connecticut overcame a three-run deficit to beat Lowell, 9-8. Lowell scored three runs in the top of the ninth, but its comeback fell short as the Spinners left two in scoring position. Brooklyn and Connecticut finished with identical 42-34 records, but the Tigers had the tiebreaker. First-round pick Michael Conforto went 0-for-4 to finish the New York-Penn League season with a .331 average. Casey Meisner tossed five scoreless innings in the finale. Conforto, Amed Rosario and Jhoan Urena were promoted to Savannah after Brooklyn's elimination. Box
Compiled with team reports
“I’m not sure I can say it publicly,” Collins said about sharing his true thoughts on the error total. “It wasn’t just that. A lot of phases of the game weren’t very good.”
Asked if the performance was an embarrassment, Collins added: “Well, it’s not a big-league baseball game.”
Jeurys Familia bounced a throw to first base after fielding a bunt, setting up runners on the corners with none out with the score tied at 6. Familia bounced a wild pitch as the go-ahead run scored. And Familia threw wide to the plate after fielding another baseball in the inning, allowing the Marlins to take a two-run lead. Erik Goeddel walked in a run in his major league debut later in the eighth.
“I think I’m trying to be too quick,” said Familia, who has been plagued by throwing difficulties after fielding comebackers throughout the season. “Before I get the ball, I’m thinking, ‘I’ve got to throw perfectly.’”
Without mentioning second baseman Dilson Herrera by name, Collins noted Familia’s bounced throw to first base usually is scooped up by the fielder manning the bag.
“Those plays are made at this level,” the manager said.
Herrera committed two errors in the game -- booting one grounder and later rushing an ill-advised throw to first base.
Regardless, Collins said Herrera is undergoing an understandable adjustment period to the majors. Infield grass is mowed tighter and therefore plays faster. And runners motor down the first-base line with more speed and/or hustle than in the minors.
“He’s going to be fine,” Collins said about Herrera. “He’s a good-looking little player. He’s got to get used to the speed of the fields here. They’re shaved down pretty good. The infields are pretty fast -- everywhere, in every ballpark. He’s got to get used to the speed of the game up here. I think when he does we’ll see some different results.”
“No excuses,” Herrera said through an interpreter. “Errors are going to happen. I’m going to make mistakes and errors. I’m not perfect. But I’m also going to continue to work on it and get better.”
Collins noted the fielding wasn’t the only phase of Monday’s game that underwhelmed. The manager left Zack Wheeler in after David Wright committed an error in the fifth, trying to get Wheeler qualified for the win despite a high pitch count. Instead, Wheeler ultimately was charged with five runs (two earned) in 4 2/3 innings while logging 114 pitches.
“I felt terrible,” Wheeler said. “… I was just leaving my breaking balls up in the zone. Nothing was really working for me. Just a bad day.”
Giancarlo Stanton had a solo homer and a couple of other hard-hit shots against Wheeler.
“I’ve done pretty well against him so far, but if he was at our place today, he would have had three home runs against me,” Wheeler said.
Regardless, Collins concluded, the team’s underwhelming performance was the result of lack of execution, not something more sinister.
“There’s no lack of effort,” Collins said.
Three errors in the inning later -- two committed by Familia -- the Marlins had scored three runs despite producing only one hit en route to a 9-6 win against the Mets.
One run scored on a wild pitch by Familia. Another came when he fielded a comebacker and fired wide to the plate.
Erik Goeddel eventually entered in his major league debut. He issued a walk to Giancarlo Stanton with first base open to load the bases, then forced in a run by walking Casey McGehee.
The Mets committed six errors in the game, one shy of matching the franchise record. It marked their most since also committing six in an 18-9 loss at Colorado on April 27, 2012, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Mets have allowed at least one unearned run in six of their last 11 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. They surrendered five unearned runs Monday.
It’s a first: Rookie Dilson Herrera had a big day at the plate and two-error game at second base.
Herrera’s two-run triple against Sam Dyson in the sixth staked the Mets to a 6-5 lead.
Earlier, Herrera produced his first major league homer -- a solo shot to open what became a four-run third inning against Henderson Alvarez as the Mets pulled ahead, 4-2.
Herrera, 20, became the fifth-youngest player to homer for the Mets. Only Jose Reyes, Jose Oquendo, Greg Goossen and Ed Kranepool had gone deep while younger.
Herrera did commit two errors, giving him three in four games.
He booted a two-out grounder from Garrett Jones in the third inning, although Zack Wheeler bailed Herrera out and left the bases loaded that inning by striking out Marcell Ozuna.
Then, making a hurried throw in the sixth after fielding Adeiny Hechavarria’s bunt, Herrera tossed the ball into the stands. He should have held the baseball, with Hechavarria comfortably safe. The misthrow allowed Hechavarria to advance to second base as the potential tying run. Christian Yelich eventually followed with an RBI single against Carlos Torres that evened the score at 6.
Oh, captain: As Wheeler’s pitch count climbed upward, Terry Collins tried to get him through five innings and qualified for a win. Instead, David Wright committed a one-out error in the fifth and three unearned runs charged to Wheeler subsequently scored as Miami took a 5-4 lead.
With the Mets ahead 4-2 and two outs in the fifth, McGehee delivered an RBI double against Wheeler. Then, on his 114th and final pitch, Wheeler surrendered a game-tying RBI single to Jones. Buddy Carlyle entered and allowed an inherited runner to score on Ozuna’s single.
Wheeler’s line in what became a no-decision: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 1 HBP, 1 HR.
It marked Wheeler’s shortest start since lasting two innings at Oakland on June 25. He had been 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA in five previous career starts against the Marlins.
Ouch: After surrendering a bases-loaded single to Wright in the third, Alvarez departed with a strained left oblique. Three runs scored on the play, including the runner from first after Ozuna threw the ball from center field into the home dugout.
MVP? Stanton opened the game’s scoring by belting a first-inning homer against Wheeler. Stanton now leads the National League with 34 homers and 99 RBIs.
Looks familiar: Ex-Met Jordany Valdespin walked as a pinch hitter in the sixth in his first plate appearance against his former club.
What’s next: Jonathon Niese (7-10, 3.48 ERA) opposes right-hander Brad Penny (1-0, 5.40) on Tuesday at 7:10 p.m.
Houston Astros: The "new wave" gets a full season
The Astros have "graduated" a number of their top prospects this season, including George Springer, Jon Singleton, Mike Foltynewicz and Domingo Santana from their own system, and Jake Marisnick from the Miami Marlins. These players have had rough patches to be sure, but they all have flashed their potential.
Satin acknowledged this season has been a disappointment. He hit .107 (3-for-28) at the major league level during the opening weeks of the year. In the Pacific Coast League, he produced a .289 average with nine homers and 49 RBIs in 374 at-bats. He played 59 games at third base, 25 games at first base, 17 games at second base and spent four games at DH with the 51s.
He was displaced at the major league level by Eric Campbell in the righty utility role.
"Anytime you can get back to the big leagues, it's obviously rewarding," Satin said. "This season hasn't gone as planned. It's been tough. It's been a grind. But I came out every day in Triple-A and worked hard. I was hitting early every day, just trying to get back here."
Satin, as well as catcher Juan Centeno, right-hander Erik Goeddel and left-hander Dario Alvarez joined the Mets on Monday.
While Campbell remains the primary righty pinch-hitter, Centeno's presence as a third catcher allows manager Terry Collins to use Anthony Recker as a pinch-hitter when the Mets need a late home run.
Goeddel and Alvarez essentially replace the injured Josh Edgin and Daisuke Matsuzaka, so the bullpen remains at its customary seven pitchers.
Alvarez, who features a slider, will be the No. 2 lefty option behind Dana Eveland with Edgin unavailable. Collins is unsure whether Edgin (bone spurs) will return this season. Edgin will be examined by team doctors on Tuesday in New York.
Meanwhile, Goeddel's major league debut may come with his brother in the ballpark. Goeddel's brother Tyler, a third baseman and the 41st overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, just completed his season in the Florida State League with Charlotte and plans to visit Marlins Park.
The Mets won't employ a true six-man rotation, since they don't want to give the incumbent pitchers more than one extra day of rest between starts. Instead, Collins said, the Mets plan to slot Montero in for a start during a stretch when the team has a six-day stretch without an off-day.
Montero, 23, is 0-3 with a 5.23 ERA in seven appearances (six starts) at the major league level.
Parnell underwent the procedure on April 8.
He said he plans to stay in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and throw throughout the winter, rather than shut things down during the offseason.
"I had my time off," said Parnell, who is in Miami with the Mets for their series against the Marlins.
Juan Lagares, cf
Curtis Granderson, rf
David Wright, 3b
Lucas Duda, 1b
Travis d'Arnaud, c
Matt den Dekker, lf
Dilson Herrera, 2b
Wilmer Flores, ss
Zack Wheeler, rhp
Christian Yelich, lf
Donovan Solano, 2b
Giancarlo Stanton, rf
Casey McGehee, 3b
Garrett Jones, 1b
Marcell Ozuna, cf
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, c
Adeiny Hechavarria, ss
Henderson Alvarez, rhp
FIRST PITCH: The gang is still all here.
The deadline to trade a player and have him eligible for the acquiring team’s postseason roster passed at midnight and the Mets stood pat, as they did at the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31. So all the chatter about Bartolo Colon potentially getting dealt can be revisited this offseason, when he has one year and $11 million remaining on his contract.
The Mets open a series at third-place Miami at 1:10 p.m. on Labor Day.
Zack Wheeler, who is 2-0 with a 0.65 ERA in four starts against the Marlins this season, opposes fellow right-hander Henderson Alvarez in the opener.
Read the Mets-Marlins series preview here.
Monday’s news reports:
• The Mets won Sunday’s rubber game against the Phillies, 6-5, to avoid dropping into last place in the NL East. Anthony Recker hit a tie-breaking three-run homer and the Mets held on late despite Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia each surrendering a run.
The Mets went 13-6 in the season series against Philadelphia, matching the most wins against the Phillies in one season in franchise history. It was the Amazin’s most wins against any team in a single season since producing 14 wins against the Montreal Expos in 1991.
Wilmer Flores had a career-high-matching three hits as well as a handful of solid fielding plays at shortstop.
The Mets produced 11 hits. That snapped a streak of 10 straight home games with six hits or fewer, which had tied the 1980 Athletics for a modern-day futility record, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Record and at MLB.com.
• The Mets have fired their VP in charge of ticket sales after four years on the job, the Post reported.
• The minor-league reinforcements were needed in part because the Mets left a couple of relievers behind in New York with elbow woes. Josh Edgin, who has bone spurs, is due to be examined as soon as Tuesday and may be “down for a while,” manager Terry Collins said. Edgin is unsure if he will require surgery to remove the spurs. Daisuke Matsuzaka's balky elbow also will be examined. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday and at MLB.com.
• With St. Lucie having been eliminated from postseason contention on the final day of the Florida State League regular season, several farmhands received promotions to playoff-bound clubs. Second baseman L.J. Mazzilli, the son of Lee Mazzilli, is headed to Las Vegas. 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini, catcher Cam Maron and right-handers Matt Koch and Tim Peterson are headed to Binghamton.
Maron hails from Hicksville, Long Island. He hit .282 with three homers and 50 RBIs and had a .387 on-base percentage in 348 at-bats with St. Lucie.
• St. Lucie was eliminated Sunday despite a 4-2 win against Palm Beach. The FSL club posted a 76-62 record this season. Meanwhile, Brooklyn remained alive for the New York-Penn League’s wild-card berth entering Monday’s regular-season finale by beating Staten Island, 11-3, behind a four-RBI game from Adrian Abreu. The Cyclones need to win Monday and have Connecticut lose to Lowell to qualify for the playoffs. Read the full minor-league recap here.
• Mike Puma in the Post names Lucas Duda the MVP and Curtis Granderson the LVP of the Mets for August. The Mets went 12-17 during the month. Granderson, who was 1-for-17 on the homestand, was given Sunday off.
• Mike Vorkunov in the Star-Ledger profiles first-round pick Michael Conforto, who is hitting .340 with three homers and 19 RBIs in 159 at-bats entering Brooklyn’s regular-season finale. “It’s just rare to see that kind of selectivity in somebody that is so young,” Cyclones manager Tom Gamboa told Vorkunov. “Everything we had heard -- he was one of the top college hitters in the country -- has proved to be true in pro ball.”
BIRTHDAYS: Left-hander David West turns 50. ... Minor-league infielder Jhoan Urena is 20.
TWEET OF THE DAY:
The Mets officially are averaging 27,034 per game, which ranks 21st in MLB. The team averaged 26,695 a season ago, and could finish below that average this year because September figures to be a slow month.
Fans weren’t paying at the box office so a Mets executive paid with her job.
With only the Diamondbacks and Marlins selling fewer tickets in the National League than the Mets, the team has fired Leigh Castergine, senior vice president, ticket sales and services who had been with the team since 2010.
“Leigh Castergine, Senior Vice President of Ticket Sales & Services, is no longer with the organization. Although no replacement has been named yet, we have a talented staff in place to handle all ticket related business while we embark on a national search for this role,” the team said Sunday in a statement to The Post.