CLEARANCE Juan Lagares

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Juan Osvaldo Lagares (born March 17, 1989) is a Dominican professional baseball center fielder for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB). He made his MLB debut during the 2013 season. He won the National League Gold Glove Award in 2014.

Contents
1 Early life
2 Professional career
2.1 Minor League Career
2.2 Major League Career
2.2.1 New York Mets
2.2.1.1 2013
2.2.1.2 2014
2.2.1.3 2015

Early life
Lagares grew up in a cool, mountainous area in Constanza, Dominican Republic. There were few baseball facilities or teams in the area so Lagares grew up playing softball.He has credited his arm strength to his background in throwing the larger, heavier softball. Lagares did not transition to playing baseball until he was already a teenager. After only seven or eight months practicing at a baseball academy, he was signed as a shortstop by the New York Mets.

Professional career
Minor League Career
Lagares was signed by the New York Mets as a non-drafted free agent on May 5, 2006.[3] Lagares was moved from shortstop to the outfield in 2009. He was assigned to the DSL Mets in 2006, where in 57 games, he hit .255/.339/.412 with 18 XBH, 33 RBI and 12 SB. Lagares was promoted to Single-A Savannah for 2007, where in 83 games, he hit .210/.262/.317 with 20 XBH, 16 RBI and 11 SB. After an arm issue occurred, his 2008 debut, with Savannah, happened in late June. After 46 games with Savannah, Lagares was demoted to Low-A Brooklyn in the middle of August. In 65 total games, he hit .253/.284/.352 with 3 HR and 24 RBI. Lagares began 2009 with Savannah, but a wrist injury suffered in late May ended most of his season. He came back in September after a rehab stint with the GCL Mets. In 53 total games, he hit .266/.297/.323 with 14 RBI and 10 SB. Lagares began 2010 with Savannah, and after hitting .300/.318/.459 with 5 HR, 39 RBI and 18 SB in 67 games, he was promoted to High-A St. Lucie, but was limited to 33 games there after a fractured ankle ended his season on July 28.

2011 was a breakout season for Lagares. He began with St. Lucie, where he tore it up before being promoted to Double-A Binghamton. In 120 games total, he hit .349/.383/.500 with 9 HR, 71 RBI and 15 SB. Lagares was added to the Mets 40 man roster on November 18, 2011. He played 2012 with Binghamton, where in 130 games, he hit .283/.334/.389 with 4 HR, 48 RBI and 21 SB. Lagares began 2013 with Triple-A Las Vegas as their center fielder, where he played in 17 games before getting recalled to New York.

Major League Career
New York Mets
2013
On April 23, Lagares was recalled by the Mets, joining Collin Cowgill and Jordany Valdespin in the trio of center field, replacing Kirk Nieuwenhuis.[7] After Cowgill was optioned on May 3 and they started to use Valdespin more as a pinch-hitter, Lagares got more playing time. On May 13, they signed Rick Ankiel as a free agent, and he was inserted in a platoon situation with Lagares.[8] After Ankiel was designated for assignment on June 9, Lagares got the starting center field job. When Matt den Dekker was called up on August 27, he took some starts from Lagares, and those two finished the season in center.

Lagares recorded his first hit, a single off Paco Rodriguez, in his first game. Lagares hit his first major league home run on May 19, against Travis Wood. For the week of July 15–21, 2013, Lagares won the NL Player of the Week Award. In that week, Lagares hit .700 with a home run and 5 RBI. In 121 games for the Mets, he hit .242/.281/.352 with 4 HR and 34 RBI. A superlative defender, Lagares had a .983 fielding percentage, as well as leading the MLB in assists at center field (14), defensive runs saved (26) and the NL in Range Factor/9 innings at center field (2.98).

2014
Lagares began the 2014 season with the Mets as their starting center fielder. At the end of the season he improved his hitting tremendously over the past season, increasing his average by nearly 40 points, from .242 to .281.[10] On November 4, 2014 it was announced that Juan had won his first Gold Glove Award. He was the third outfielder in franchise history to win a Gold Glove award, the others being Tommie Agee (1970) and Carlos Beltran (2006-08). He also won the Fielding Bible Award as the statistically best defensive center fielder in the National League.

2015
On April 2, 2015, Lagares and the Mets agreed to a four-year extension worth $23 million which will run from 2016 through 2019. The Mets have a $9.5 million option for 2020, with a $500,000 buyout.

Personal life
Lagares and his wife had their first child, a son, Juan, Jr., in September of 2013. Lagares has his son’s name stitched into his glove.