There’s lots to cover in New York Mets camp. Juan Lagares has a new swing, Tim Tebow has new merch and Todd Frazier has a new spot in the lineup?
— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) February 16, 2018
No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you. That’s two—yes, two—different Tim Tebow “shirseys” available for sale at the New York Mets spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, courtesy of the New York Post‘s Ken Davidoff.
You’d think the Mets would have more merchandise available for some of the team’s bigger stars like Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, new additions like Todd Frazier, upstart youngsters like Amed Rosario or yes, even injured legends like David Wright.
Translation: More merch for guys who are actually going to be a factor for the Mets in 2018.
Then again, maybe this shouldn’t come as a surprise at all. Tebow remains a legend in his own right after a spectacular career as quarterback for the University of Florida and a hugely popular—and occasionally polarizing—figure in the sports world.
If you want your double Tebow “shirseys”, you’d better move fast. They’ll undoubtedly be the hottest item available—while supplies last.
Speaking of the Todd Father…
Frazier Leading Off?
While we think of Frazier as a middle-of-the-order-slugger, Mets hitting coach Pat Roessler is thinking of him as a potential table-setter atop the lineup.
“We got to get some people on base in front of those big boys, so we can do damage,” Roessler told NorthJersey.com’s Matt Ehalt. “Who that is? It may differ at times with who is hottest.”
Frazier posted career-highs in on-base percentage (.344) and walks (83) in 2017 while going 15-for-20 on stolen base attempts, the third consecutive season that he’s posted double-digit steals.
He may be an unorthodox choice, but Frazier atop the order might not be such a bad idea after all.
Juan Lagares‘ Intriguing New Swing
Lagares has long been viewed as a defense-first player, but the 28-year-old appears ready to change his reputation in 2018.
“He’s made some adjustments and it’s going to be interesting to see how he takes that into the game,” Roessler told Mike Puma of the New York Post. “We may have to run him on the back field a little bit to get him some extra at-bats to make him more comfortable.”
Owner of a career .257 batting average and .663 OPS, Lagares’ 29.7 hard-hit percentage in 2017 ranked 10th out of 11 Mets batters with at least 250 plate appearances on the year. Only Reyes (26.7 percent) made hard contact less frequently.
Lagares did, however, lead the team in ground ball rate, with 50.8 percent of the balls he put in play never getting into the air. None of that is a problem for Roessler—with one catch.
“He did hit some balls hard last year, and when his timing is not off, hit the ball on the ground,” Roessler said. “I think he’s got a better chance of hitting the ball in the air more often. We told him the other day we don’t mind him hitting ground balls as long as the first hop is 420 feet away.”