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Lagares chosen as Mets' defense award winner

Juan Lagares was recognized on Thursday night for his steady production of highlight-reel plays in center field this season, as the rookie earned the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award for the Mets.

Distributed for the first time in 2012, Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Awards are given to the top defensive player on each team, as well as the top individual and team defenders in each league. Third baseman David Wright won the inaugural Mets' honor a season ago.

Unlike the Gold Glove Awards, which are given annually to the top defensive player at each position in each league, the Wilson Awards are not based on the opinions of managers and coaches. Instead, these honors are chosen based on a specific formula that factors in scouting information, sabermetric analysis and basic fielding stats.

Lagares impressed in all three of those categories with his dazzling defensive work for the Mets. The 24-year-old led all center fielders with 14 outfield assists, and his 21.5 Ultimate Zone Rating was second in the big leagues, only to Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez.

Although Lagares was not named a finalist for next week's National League Gold Glove Awards, he still has a chance to take home more hardware for his defensive prowess this season.

Lagares is nominated for a pair of defensive honors in the 2013 Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards (GIBBYs). Along with being in the running for the Defensive Player of the Year, Lagares is also up for the Play of the Year GIBBY Award for his May 12 circus catch against the Pirates.

GIBBY Awards are based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at and the Society for American Baseball Research. Fan voting runs through Dec. 1.

Paul Casella is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.

New York Mets