Ever since Wilmer Flores was called up to the big leagues, there have been some fans who have refused to give up the (likely impossible) dream of Flores playing shortstop. One of those fans, Chad Gigante (@CjFMAHitsBombs) penned a post for Rising Apple. His thoughts on Flores and shortstop are below…
By Chad Gigante:
The Mets are a struggling team that has given its fan base an enjoyable summer of baseball filled with optimism and enthusiasm. It’s been a difficult thing to achieve with a team that’s been out of the playoff race for months, yet the Mets organization has been able to do it. And it’s all about the youth.
The youth movement started with Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, and has continued with position players like Juan Lagares, Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores. Being optimistic (what Mets fans are best at) it looks like we have our center fielder and catcher with Largares and d’Arnaud. The question regarding what to do with Flores remains.
Wilmer has come up and filled a void at third base that opened when our Captain pulled a leg muscle beating out a single in a winning effort. When Wilmer came up people talked about his lack of defensive skills, yet he has showed otherwise. He has handled himself very well at third base while showing off a great arm and good agility. What’s impressed me the most has been his ability to get up quickly to make a throw after a diving effort on a ball. It’s looked natural and effortless – not awkward and slow as the scouts have made us assume.
In 2008, Wilmer came up as a shortstop in the Appalachian League. Since then, he’s transitioned to playing mostly third base and second base in the minors. Wilmer is listed at 6’3″ and 190 pounds. Ever since he arrived with the Mets he has reminded me of one of my favorite players growing up. The similarities lie with his stature. His height, along with his slender, almost lanky frame where it seems his arms and legs go for days.
His stature is similar to the most famous/controversial baseball player today. None other than Alex Emanuel Rodriguez. At first glance you’re gonna think I’m crazy. However, take a look back to his days with Seattle when he came up. A-Rod is 6’3″ and around 225 now, but he weighed under 200 when he was shortstop for the Mariners. Yes, Alex Rodriguez was an exceptional shortstop with a rocket for an arm. Am I saying that Wilmer is going to be as good as A-Rod as in the field? Definitely not. But what if he could do what Daniel Murphy did? What if he could be a solid major league shortstop? What if he could last at shortstop until the Captain is gone and then proceed to third base later in his career? I know that’s a best case scenario but what if?
Think about the offense next year if Flores could prove himself at shortstop. Let’s say Ike Davis and Josh Satin platoon all year (unless Ike proves to be the Ike we all thought he would be). You’d then have Murphy at second, Flores at short, and the Captain at third. Put that infield together with a couple of outfield bats added in the off season. That’s more offensive quality in a lineup than we have seen the last three years combined!
So I plead…please play Wilmer at shortstop when the Captain returns. Let him play the rest of the season there, because why not? What’s the harm? If not, we are likely going to end up trading him because we have no position for him, and that’s not ideal. Give the kid a shot and let’s see what happens. He is only 22 and has already shown plenty of ability while playing at third base to make you wonder if he could do it at short. The upside outweighs the downside and that’s the simplest way to look at it.
So why not?
Wilmer Flores will be the first 6’3″ shortstop in New York Baseball History!!
Oh wait, I forgot about Derek Jeter…….