Mets: The case for Wilmer Flores starting over Adrian Gonzalez
By Mike Marrano
After two very different Spring Training performances, it seems Wilmer Flores should get the first base starting position over Adrian Gonzalez.
When the Mets signed Adrian Gonzalez to a one year, veteran minimum contract after being designated for assignment from the Atlanta Braves, they hoped he would be a mentor figure that would help Dominic Smith flourish as a player to become the future long term first basemen. Fast forward just a little later, the Mets had plans for Adrian Gonzalez to be the everyday first baseman for the team after Smith was sidelined with a right quad injury.
After a poor spring training by Gonzalez, Mickey Callaway said that Gonzalez and Wilmer Flores who has experience playing first base after playing 29 games at the position in 2017, will now be splitting time at first base after an impressive Spring Training outing. He believes Flores should not only to bat just against right handed pitchers, but lefties too.
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This is all an effort by Mickey Callaway to try to get Wilmer Flores to play as much as possible. Flores is a underrated utility man for the Mets who has experience playing all around the infield and is now even practicing in the outfield. Flores is a great player to use if you need to fill him to start a few games and each position to give players the rest they need. It also would give Wilmer a chance to really show how big of an asset he can really be down the road.
Since Flores has showed what he is capable of in Spring Training, and Gonzalez playing very underwhelming, there should be a case made that Wilmer Flores should be the go to man for the first baseman position over Adrian Gonzalez instead of splitting time.
In Spring Training so far, Adrian Gonzalez, who will turn 36 this May, has been unable so far to show that he can still be the impactful first baseman he was when he was in his prime. In 56 at bats so far, he is batting .214 with 12 hits, 3 RBI’s and only one home run. He is coming off his worst season of his career and with opening day just days away, the signs are not pointing at Gonzalez to be the everyday man. He has very little time as well to prove people wrong.
However, The Mets do not seemed to be worried about gonzalez right this second. Mets hitting coach Pat Roessler does not want to push the panic button just yet as he believes all he needs to do is keep adjusting his swing until he is comfortable, as he has been his whole career.
Flores has had a very promising Spring. In less at bats then Gonzalez, Flores has collected more hits with 16, home runs with three and RBI’s with seven. Flores has also a better on base slugging percentage this Spring with .957 compared to Gonzalez who has .570 and a better on base percentage with .397 compared to Gonzalez who has .267.
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Mickey Callaway and the rest of the Mets staff should have enough evidence that as of right now until Dominic Smith is healthy and shows signs that he is ready to contribute to this Mets team, Wilmer Flores should be the starting first baseman on Opening Day.