Favorite Under the Radar New York Mets: Juan Lagares

Due to Coronavirus destroying the sports landscape, all we have left is our sports memories. During the time where there is not much New York Mets news, here is the start of looking at some of the more underappreciated Mets players.

Juan Lagares instantly became a fan favorite due to his magical defense in the outfield. It seemed no ball could beat him, and he earned a 2014 Gold Glove award due to his spectacular defense. He also played center field with a swagger and confidence that had been missing since Carlos Beltran vacated the position. Lagares trademark was making an excellent catch, then firing the batch of sunflower seeds he had in his mount.

Defensive Specialist

Only over the last four seasons has Statcast kept track of defensive metrics. Although these years are not his best, he still had 16 outs above average, and the metrics showed he was very balanced in his ability to get balls in any direction. Despite not being a strong hitter, his glove consistently kept him on the roster.

Lagares is no star by any means, but he was a Met you were happy to watch succeed. He was one of the original holdovers from the rebuilding Mets to the NL championship Mets and had a final renaissance during the second half when he received playing time due to the Mets’ need for outfield defense. Outside of his hitting, injuries had always been Lagares’ Achilles heel. It hurt him the most in 2018, where he started the season hitting .339, then lost his season to a toe injury.

Lagares is now with the San Diego Padres and hopes to land a spot on a young Padres roster.

New York Yankees: Gleyber Torres Has Two Glaring Problems for 2020

At this point, it’s more than obvious that the New York Yankees intend to make Gleyber Torres the everyday shortstop for the Yankees moving forward. But, he has two massive problems moving forward, especially if we are to believe what the Yankees fans are saying on social media.

Defensive liability

Okay. So Gleyber Torres hasn’t been in the league for all that long. A two-year veteran is still pretty young. But, the problem is obvious at this point. Gleyber Torres is a better defensive second baseman than shortstop. Gleyber Torres is a league-average second baseman and a below-average shortstop. Like, when we look at his statistics and compare them to Miguel Andujar, Andujar is a Gold Glove-caliber third baseman by comparison.

But, based on what Torres is capable of doing at defense at second base, Yankees fans are more comfortable at seeing Torres at short than they are seeing Andujar at third. Tell me how this makes sense?

High strikeout rate

Gleyber is turning into an offensive marvel. A .275 career hitter, he went from 24 home runs in 2018 to 38 in 2019. But, he’s averaging 152 strikeouts PER SEASON! Yankees fans kill Stanton for how much he strikes out, just like they kill Sanchez. But if Gleyber is striking out over 150 times a season… it’s only 23 strikeouts BEHIND Sanchez per season.

So What Should the Yankees do?

Well, the obvious choice is that the New York Yankees will make him the opening day shortstop. But… with DJ as old as he is (he’s above the 30 years old line, which is a death sentence for most players), Gleyber will be moved back to second before 2025. So… while the Yankees may be shooting themselves in the foot for now… if the shortstops the Yankees have in the farms will be ready by 2022… it’s all for the best.

New York Knicks: How Will Coach Fizdale Manage Depth?

New York Knicks, David Fizdale

The New York Knicks are now very deep. Some knick fans fear the current roster is a little too deep. During the 2019-20 NBA offseason, Scott Perry, Steve Mills, and the New York Knicks determinedly established depth, especially at the forward position. The Knicks signed forwards Marcus Morris, Bobby Portis, and Taj Gibson. They also drafted combo forwards RJ Barrett and Ignas Brazdeikis. Both draft picks are versatile. RJ can play point-guard and shooting-guard. Brazdeikis can possibly play shooting-guard, small-forward, and power-forward.

The New York Knicks backed away from a contract with undrafted forward Kris Wilkes due to health concerns and are now contemplating the possibility of replacing Wilkes with the shot-blocking athletic forward/center from Oregon by the name of Kenny Wooten. Former Oregon Duck, Kenny Wooten will be at training camp seeking a two-way deal. The Knicks signed a plethora of forwards, however, they are all versatile. The versatility of these players will allow Coach Fizdale to get very creative with lineups on a nightly basis.

David Fizdale’s depth management will definitely be based on the cohesion of certain players on the court. This is exactly what training camps and preseasons are for. It gives the coach a feel for guys strengths/weaknesses and what formulas to use for success. Chemistry is key for such a deep roster. It also doesn’t hurt that players started a chain text amongst one another and began taking the initiative to work out together at various locations.

Overall, David Fizdale has been a well-respected coach around the league due to his communication skills. Being clear and direct with your message is crucial when dealing with personalities. Fizdale may give the media the sugar side but behind closed doors, I guarantee David Fizdale demands a culture of winning in that Knick locker room by any means necessary.

New York Knicks: Potential Late-Round/Undrafted Picks That Could Provide Value

In the 2018-2019 season, the New York Knicks offense has been a liability, 26th in the league in PPG, and dead last in field goal percentage. With that being said, the Knicks need offense and only have one first round pick, and need to find ways to get young offense without giving up that much, or anything. Today we look at five mid-major seniors that have proven to be great scorers that the Knicks could get in the second round, or sign as an undrafted free-agent.

Chris Clemons (Campbell)

Chris Clemons is one of the most prolific scorers in college basketball history, currently eighth all-time with over 3,000 career points. In his senior season, he leads college basketball at 29.8 PPG and shoots the three ball at 38 percent, and is an 86 percent free-throw shooter. His only drawback is his defense. At only 5’9, he can throw it down and gets over a steal a game, but will likely have trouble defending high level guards like James Harden, who stands at 6’5. He does rebound very well for his size, with over five a game. He could be an off-the-bench option to come in against the second string and get a few buckets and come right back out. Clemons will likely go undrafted.

Mike Daum (South Dakota State)

Mike Daum is the best forward in college basketball that nobody talks about. He averages well over a double-double a game at 25.4 PPG and 11.6 RPG. At 6’9, he shoots well and his field goal percentage is over 50 percent. He is having a down year from three at 36 percent, but shot it 43 percent just a year ago. His weakness is defense, as he averages less than a block and a steal per game, numbers that should be higher for his size. Daum could be a role player that boosts the Knicks offense and rebounding numbers. Daum will likely be a mid to late second rounder.

Justin Wright-Foreman (Hofstra)

Justin Wright-Foreman is one of the best players in the country, and is third in the NCAA at 26.3 PPG He doesn’t take a lot of shots either, with his field goal percentage at 51 percent and his three-point percentage at almost 43 percent. He is very efficient and only turns the ball over about twice per game. His free-throw shooting also makes him a guy you don’t want to foul, at almost 88 percent. Wright-Foreman could be good enough to be a sixth man, but his defense is below average, with less than a block and a steal per game. Wright-Foreman will likely be an early to mid second rounder.

Matt Morgan (Cornell)

Matt Morgan is one of the best the historic Ivy League has ever seen. He is currently at 10th in the nation in PPG at 23.6. His field goal percentage is around 52 percent and shoots the three at over 45 percent. Statistically, he is the best shooter on this list. Morgan is one of the most efficient players in the NCAA, and leads the country in POS/G (Per Synergy Basketball). He gets almost three assists and five rebounds at 6’2, putting him just under the average NBA guard height. His defense is improved and could be a three-point specialist in the NBA. Morgan would be a late second rounder to undrafted.

Jordan Davis (Northern Colorado)

Jordan Davis is 11th in the country in scoring at 23.5 PPG, but his game does have a few drawbacks. He is one of the best all-around mid major players, averaging five assists and five rebounds a game. His defense is average, providing over a steal a game. But his shooting percentages are worrisome, but improving. He shoots 47 percent from the field, but just 37 percent from three. This season is the first season that he shot over 30 percent from three, and his free-throw percentage is at 81 percent. Before this season, his highest was at 70 percent. Davis is improving, but not quite NBA ready. He may benefit from a year or two in the G-League. He will likely go undrafted.

New York Yankees Flashback: Homers, And Lots of Them

Former Mets setup man Addison Reed unwillingly became a big New York Yankees hero on August 11, 2017, as he came on for the Red Sox in the eighth inning with his club up 3-0. But he hit Brett Gardner leading off, and a home run, single, walk, single, single gave the Yanks the lead. Then another hit and Ronald Torreyes‘s sac fly one out later even gave the team a one-run cushion. This made Andrew Benintendi‘s ninth-inning sac fly too little, too late, in the 5-4 victory.

The M&M race was heating up in 1961, and the daily record of Yankee excellence defines what Yankee history is all about. On August 11 of that glorious year, both Mickey Mantle (his 44th) and Roger Maris (42nd) homered off Pete Burnside to lead the Bombers to a 12-5 win over Washington.

Babe Ruth became the first player to hit 500 home runs in a loss to Cleveland on August 11, 1929. Harmon Killebrew hit his 500th (and 501st) on this day in 1971, and Reggie Jackson hit his 400th on August 11, 1980.

David Wells held the Twins to four hits in a 4-0 win on this day in 1998. It was quite a come-down, as Wells had thrown a Perfect Game in his last start against the Minnesota-based team.

Frank Robinson broke Yankee hearts for the second time in the same season on August 11, 1966, when he dove into the stands to snatch Clete Boyer‘s bid for an 11th-inning, game-winning homer; Robby’s catch preserved a 6-5 Orioles win.