Flores Time?

By Andrew Battifarano

March 2 2012, Port St Lucie, FL, USA: New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores (71) during photo day at Digital Domain Park. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports.

With the demotion of struggling first baseman Ike Davis to Triple A, the Mets have experimented with a different infield in the two games since Davis has been in Las Vegas. Daniel Murphy, who has actually turned into a serviceable second baseman the past few seasons, has been asked to play his old position of first base, while the Mets want to see what they have in the speedy and sometimes controversial Jordany Valdespin at second base.

Players like Justin Turner and recent call-up Josh Satin may get more playing time in the infield with Davis’ demotion, especially when a lefty takes the mound. However, if the Mets are going to use Murphy at first base, there is someone who deserves to get regular playing time. This is Wilmer Flores.

Flores signed with the Mets organization as a teenager during 2007. During his time so far with the organization, he’s been named to Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects three times( 2009, 2010, and 2011) and has played in the Futures Game twice, in 2009 and in 2012. During 2011, he began his transition to the corner infield, as he switched from playing shortstop to becoming a regular time third baseman.

Last season, Flores started out with the St. Lucie Mets, and hit 10 homers and drove in 42 runs in 64 games. He made the jump mid-season to Double-A Binghamton, and thrived there as well. He improved his batting average to .311, and clubbed eight home runs while recording 33 RBIs. He also compiled a strong .361 OBP and had an outstanding .855 OPS.

This season, Flores has made the transition to Triple A, and has not skipped a beat in his performance. He has been tearing up Las Vegas, and already has hit six longballs and 49 RBI’s, to go along with his impressive .314 average. He’s also been getting on base at an impressive rate at .356 and has once again posted a solid OPS of .850.

In his last ten games, Flores has been on fire. He’s batting an incredible .439, while posting a an OBP of .465 and OPS of 1.099. He’s also hit two homers and driven in 11 runs.

While Flores is heating up and has put up solid numbers at the Minor League level, one may wonder why he isn’t in the big leagues already. While his offense has been superb, his defense has been average at best. Flores does not have much range as an infielder, which was part of the reason why he transitioned from shortstop to third base. If he did have the range and solid defensive skills the Mets were looking for, Flores may have been called up when shortstop Ruben Tejada went down with an injury.

Although Flores has hit enough to be considered ready for the Majors, the team has decided to take a good look at Valdespin at second base, to truly see what they have. If the free-swinging Valdespin struggles in an everyday role, Flores could possibly get a call.

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