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Terry Collins wants Juan Lagares to lead off

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Can Lagares make the most of his opportunity this spring and give the Mets a steady hand at the top of the order?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After throwing around the possibility last weekend of Curtis Granderson possibly getting time at leadoff, Terry Collins said on Saturday that he would prefer Juan Lagares in that role for the Mets this Season.

Collins believes that putting Lagares at leadoff is what is most beneficial to Lagares and the Mets as a team, but also said that what he needs from Lagares is for him to get better with his plate discipline. Collins wants Lagares's OBP to be somewhere around .330 or .340, rather than the .321 that he posted last season. Collins believes that Lagares is very capable of reaching this because he's done everything else that they've asked of him, saying about Lagares's approach at the plate:

"Again, if you're looking for strike one and you get where you're looking, do some damage on it. Otherwise, you've got to have the patience to take it. And I know he's trying. I know he's going to try. So we'll get him a look this spring."

Both Lagares and Granderson bring strengths, but also weaknesses to the leadoff position. Last year, Lagares struck out almost half as much as Granderson did, but Granderson had four times as many walks. Granderson has more power, Lagares hits for a better average.

The tactical advantage of putting Lagares at leadoff and Granderson in the two-hole is an enticing situation. For one, it keeps Granderson's power bat at the top of the order, but it also allows Daniel Murphy to shift down on the lineup card, possibly giving him more RBI opportunities. However, this means that Lagares and Granderson both have to increase their OBP output during the spring to show that they can produce at the top of the lineup for the Mets this season.