The Wilmer Flores Situation

During the Winter Meetings it looked like Ike Davis would not be with the New York Mets come spring training. While those rumors seemed to gain ground each day of the meetings, they never came to fruition. Even the possibility of a possible package deal including Daniel Murphy could not get a deal done with possible suitors. This means that Murphy will be manning the second base position again, and Davis will most likely battle with Lucas Duda at first. With these two positions seemingly filled for the time being, that leaves Wilmer Flores in a precarious situation.

Sep 17, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets third baseman Wilmer Flores (4) reacts after hitting an RBI double against the San Francisco Giants during the fourth inning of a game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Last season I pushed for Flores to come up after putting up a solid triple slash of .321/.357/.531 for the Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League. While the PCL has been known to inflate offensive numbers, Flores was known to hit at all levels of the minor leagues, so to me it meant that Flores is a consistent threat with the stick.

When he came up to the big club towards the end of 2013, Flores started out on a tear and endeared himself to the fan base (or me at least) when he hit a bases-clearing double  in just his second game. Later that week, he showed off his power potential when he hit an opposite field homer on the road against the Diamondbacks, the first of his career. He had one of the strongest first weeks a Met rookie ever had, and I, as many other fans of the team, were thrilled to see what he could do while filling in for the injured David Wright.

It seems like something typical of the Mets that nothing good lasts long, and of course this happened with Flores too. After hitting that homer in Arizona, the  22-year-old rolled his ankle while running to third base during the following series. After that game, he missed some time, and for the rest of the season did not look like the same player. It was disappointing to see that, but I think the injury had more to do with his struggles than some might think.

Heading into the offseaon, I had a gut feeling the Mets would make a package trade that would include the young infielder, but that never happened. Instead, he was sent to an offseason conditioning camp along with some other Mets, as well as competing in the Venezuelan Winter League. During his winter season, Flores raked at the plate, hitting well over .300. At the training camp, Flores looked to get a bit quicker and agile, something that has been a noted weakness of his.

But with most of the lineup either penciled in or already in position battles, there seems to be little room for the Mets’ No. 4 prospect, according to MLB.com.

With the uncertainty or Ruben Tejada and the likelihood the Mets don’t end up signing Stephen Drew, Flores has been talked about as a person to get some time at shortstop during spring training. While this is technically his natural position, Flores has strayed away from short because of the lack of range. It should be interesting to see if he has any increased foot speed after his offseason workouts, and I’m definitely not opposed to giving him a shot to compete with Tejada.

If Flores proves he still can’t handle playing in the middle infield, what can be done with the youngster? First base seems to been pretty crowded already, and Murphy has solidified second base as his own. I love the potential with his bat, and would hate to seem him start the year in Triple A, especially since he looks ready to play at the Major League level. If Davis or Duda really end up looking horrendous at the plate during spring training, maybe you’ll see Wilmer get some time there as well, but right now it just seems Flores doesn’t have a spot on the big club, which is just a shame to me.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to follow @RisingAppleBlog on Twitter and Instagram, and Like Rising Apple’s Facebook page to keep up with the latest news, rumors, and opinion.

Topics: New York Mets, Wilmer Flores

Want more from Rising Apple?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.
  • Joe.02

    “the youngster”

    Ok grandpa.

  • Ken Meoni

    Totally agree Andy. Wilmer is a favorite of mine. So much so, that I would play him over Murphy. If they trade him, it would be a huge mistake. The Mets never got it done with trades this off season. It seems only the free agent part of their brains were working. That makes it an incomplete off season for me.

    • chums41

      Let me get this straight: Murphy was the 6th ranked hitting 2B in the NL and 11th overall and you want to replace him with an unproven rookie? Given the vastly improved lineup, Murph could be a .300 hitter next year with 15-20 HR’s, 90 RBI’s and an improved OBP since he will not required to carry the team on his shoulders (which he did during Wright’s absence). Murph is also a natural born vocal leader, something which David Wright is not. We need Murph’s fire in the lineup. Everyone loves Flores and he should be given every chance to compete for a starting role, but not at 2B. Let him work out at Short and 1B, where we have very subpar players manning those positions.

    • Victor Chu

      chums41 … can you elaborate what you mean re: the “vastly improved lineup”? Especially the “vastly” part? For me, that would be true if Granderson outperforms Byrd by 10 or more HRs and 20 or more RBIs, and if Chris Young performs like he did during his All-Star season … two very big “ifs” … where else have the Mets “vastly” improved themselves in the (projected) lineup so far? My read is: 1B – nope, 2B – nope, SS – nope, 3B – nope, one other OF position – nope, C – nope.

    • chums41

      I really like Byrd, but Granderson is universally considered a much greater threat than Byrd and should provide much greater lineup protection. Do you really think that Lagares, Granderson and Young are not a major improvement over last year’s opening day crew of Cowgill, Duda and Byrd? It is definitely an improved lineup and will consequently put Wright and Murphy in better hitting situations. Wilmer Flores could end up being our SS, which would be a big improvement. d’Arnaud, if he stays healthy will certainly show improvement at catcher. So yes, overall I would say that this year’s product will be a vast improvement.

    • Victor Chu

      chums41
      … sorry to focus so much on the word “vastly” … that said, I
      agree that Granderson SHOULD BE a “greater threat” but he is coming back from two injuries, so I don’t expect him to be
      “vastly” better than the 2013 version of Marlon Byrd. If so, that
      would mean 30+ homers and 100+ RBIs … if Granderson “only” hits 25 HRs and 90 RBIs, I would not consider that a vast improvement in the lineup, as Byrd hit 24 and had 88, respectively, last year between the Mets and the Pirates, not to mention a .291 BA … keep in mind that Granderson’s 162 game average is a .261 BA, 30 HRs and only 83 RBIs … defensively, Granderson could
      also be somewhat (but not vastly) better, but that’s not a lineup benefit as far as the offense is concerned. As for Chris Young, he hit .200 last year … yes, he has some pop in his bat and has shown a lot of potential in the past, but even Duda was better in average (.233), OBP (.352) and HRs (15) last
      year with the same # of ABs, and CY’s best year was more than 3 years ago … granted, CY is still superior to Duda on the basepaths and defensively in the OF, but again, is Chris Young VASTLY better than Duda in the lineup from an offensive perspective? I’m not sure about that … but, I certainly don’t want Duda manning any spot in the OF in 2014. Also, in my mind, I’m comparing your
      projected OF to what was in my mind the Mets OF for most of 2013, which was EY, Lagares and Byrd – but I would agree that if you are comparing your projected OF to the 2013 opening day OF, then Lagares is definitely a VAST improvement over Cowgill. I also hope both Granderson and CY live up to your expectations of helping to create a “vastly improved lineup” … because that would mean fun times for us Mets fans next year! I’m also willing to give Flores a shot at SS, unless he is totally inept fielding-wise at the position during ST and his bat is only so-so during that period.
      And, of course, if d’Arnaud hits anywhere close to his minor league
      numbers, and if Davis/Duda/Satin produce anything at 1B with a combined line of .260 BA/25 HRs/ at the position, then “SURE!” the Mets will have a vastly improved lineup … but you have a lot of IFs here … at least 5 big ones! You are definitely seeing the kettle as half full … but, I hope you’re right!!!

    • chums41

      Vastly was an overstatement and you’re absolutely right, 2014 could be a disaster. Granderson’s not going to hit 40 HR’s at Citi, which translates into 85 RBI’s. If the remainder of his stats resemble 2012, he won’t be a threat and will not provide Murph and Wright much protection. It would be wise for him to shoot for doubles and accept a 25 HR year which would improve his average and lower his K totals. But he’ll likely shoot for a 40 HR total, which would be offset by his .229 BA and 195K’s.You’re also right about Young, not to mention Colon, who at 265 lbs is a walking time bomb. That load has an equal chance of sustaining a season ending injury in spring training as he has to win 16 games. If d’Arnaud goes down, another injury prone player, that leaves us with Recker. If Colon goes down, the young pitching staff could implode. 2014 could be a disaster, I just don’t choose to view it that way. I’ve been a Mets fan since 1965 so my suffering is about as great as any living Mets fan, but if I can’t be optimistic in February, than it’s time to choose another team.

    • Victor Chu

      chums41 … being a life-long Mets fan as well, I hear you … my wife thinks I’m just a masochistic baseball fan … however, I don’t think 2014 will be a disaster, UNLESS injuries happen to the folks discussed above or to our starting pitching staff … if the starting position players (including any platoon players, like Satin/Duda/Ike, EYoung/Lagares, Tejada/Omar) remain healthy all season, I think the lineup will be an improvement … the question is by how much … hopefully enough to get us over .500 (assuming our bullpen does not blow more than 10-12 games this year) … and, if we play meaningful games in September (or October), that’s just a bonus … but, I’m realistic about the season and expectations with Atlanta and the Nationals ahead of us in the NL East … if we had a healthy Harvey, then I think the Sandy would have talked the Wilpons into spending more $$$ to contend for the wild card … as for Colon, I’d prefer he just keep the bat on his shoulder when it is his turn to step into a batter’s box, unless we need him to bunt a runner into scoring position. And, if both Colon and d’Arnaud go on the DL (especially early), then we are in for another sub-.500 season for sure … now, if Ike and Tejada can only live up to their hype/potential (assuming we don’t get a new first baseman and Drew), then I think the Mets are in a good place … I’d even take their 2012 numbers all over again in 2014, but Ike would have to spread his HRs and RBIs over the course of the whole year! That said, let’s go Mets!

    • chums41

      Victor, I agree with everything you said, it would be nice to watch some meaningful games in Aug/Sept. Regarding SS, there are several free agents hitting the market in 2015 (Asdrubal Cabrera, J.J. Hardy, Jed Lowrie , even Hanley Rameriez) so no reason to pay up for Drew. And since this will likely be a semi-experimental season, I think they need to give Flores ample opportunity to play SS. It’s not like Tejada is a gold glove, and Flores’ upside as a hitter is significant vs. Tejada, even the 2012 version. This young man has 15+ home run potential and I would risk a slight to modest drop off in our fielding. Have a great day Victor and Lets go Mets!

    • Victor Chu

      chums41 … thanks for your reply. I’m not a big Drew fan either, certainly not at what he is expected to cost, but I’d take him for 2 years for $20 MM total, but not more years nor more $$$. I know there are “better and younger” shortstops potentially available as free agents next year, but they would likely cost a draft pick and there is no guarantee they will even be available, except at the trade deadline and their respective teams are not in the playoff hunt, AND the Mets are in a wild card race … but, to your point, I’m willing to sacrifice a bit of defense at SS with Flores if he can provide enough offense. We shall see! Hope your weather is better than what we’ve been experiencing in NY … I’m literally sick because of it! I’d be happy down in PSL shagging balls in the outfield for DW … enjoy the rest of your week!