The New York Mets may have had a day off the field yesterday, but that doesn’t mean that things behind the scenes are standing still. On Sunday the team announced that it had recalled 24-year-old lefty Rob Carson from Las Vegas (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League and designated LHP Aaron Laffey for assignment. The 6-4, 240-pounder was 1-0 with 1.17 ERA in eight games with the 51s this year. He allowed two hits, issued two walks and had seven strikeouts.
Last season Carson recorded a 4.73 ERA in 17 appearances with the Mets and this Spring the lefty struggled to the tune of a 4.97 earned run average over 12 2/3 innings pitched. Big Rob is likely to serve as a third left-hander out of the bullpen alongside Josh Edgin and Scott Rice.
The Mets may continue to juggle their bullpen throughout the season as they try to find some formula of ‘hot hands’ that can consistently hang on to leads late in games. The outfield is another dimension of the team that most thought would have a bit of fluidity to it heading into the season. The Metsecutives have to be happy with the solid play of Lucas Duda, Jordanny Valdespin, and Marlon Byrd, but Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Mike Baxter, and Collin Cowgill have a combined .198 avg on the year (16-81). That could be reason enough for the team to call up 24-year-old outfielder Juan Lagares from Las Vegas (AAA), a move that Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports could happen today:
Photo by Michael G. Baron
Outfield prospect Juan Lagares, who is tearing up the Pacific Coast League, likely will join the Mets as soon as Tuesday, baseball sources told ESPNNewYork.com.
Lagares, 24, is hitting .346 with three homers and nine RBIs through 78 at-bats with Triple-A Las Vegas. All 17 of his appearances with the 51s have been in center field. He also has experience in both corner outfield spots. He already is a member of the Mets’ 40-man roster.
Lagares initially was a shortstop in the Mets’ system after signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2006.
“He’s a … kid who can play all three outfield positions,” Wally Backman told ESPNNewYork.com late in the 2011 season, while managing Lagares with Double-A Binghamton. “He’s got speed. He’s a good outfielder. He throws to the right bases. And he can swing the bat a little bit.”
Lagares was leading the Florida State League in batting with a .339 average when he was promoted to the Double-A B-Mets on July 23, 2011.
One scout who watched Lagares in Double-A compared him body-type-wise to Raul Mondesi. ”
Lagares was an organizational All-Star for the Mets in 2011, where he spent time in both St. Lucie (A) and Binghamton (AA) and managed a .349 average to go with nine homers in 470 at-bats. In looking down the line at his minor league track record there certainly doesn’t seem to be an abundance of power (he’s never hit double digit home runs), but there he’s stolen over 20 bases twice and accroding to Rubin’s article, Wally Backman certainly seems to think highly of the center fielder.
Backman said there’s a smoothness to Lagares at the plate.
“He has a very ‘quiet’ approach,” the manager said. “He has a knack for getting the barrel on the ball. He looks like he’s a real good hitter. I mean, if you just watch him, you say, ‘This kid is going to be able to hit.’”
I like the idea of the Mets continuing to audition their younger players this season as they try to figure out exactly what they have down in the farm. This is likely to continue on a much grander scale when guys like Zack Wheeler and Travis d’Arnaud (if healthy) get their shots later this season, but it’s not too early to see the type of plan management appears to be laying out with guys like Carson and Lagares getting the call this week.