Ernest Dove - Is Wilmer Flores the Mets 2015 Shortstop ?


  The season is about to end for the Mets. Another possible losing season for the Amazin's. David Wright has already been shut down. Vic Black also appears done for the season. Den Dekker and Campbell have good at times. Lagares might be done for the year. Curtis Granderson is probably wishing this season was already over. Murphy was an injury away from 200 hits, Duda might have turned himself into a legit 35 homer cleanup hitter, and Ruben Tejada might have hit himself out of a job.  Amongst all the turmoil, injuries, and Mets fans dressed as empty seats at Citi Field, the one ongoing question mark still hovers over one Wilmer Flores.
  The kid who, if you are a well advised follower of Mets minor leaguers, has been around for what seems like 15 years, is still only 23 years old.  You know, the kid was originally scouted and signed as a short stop (although pretty much all Latin kids are signed originally as shortstops).  You know, the kid who can't field or run, but has somehow managed to play multiple positions, without embarrassing himself.  The kid who warmed the bench, in between some monster doubles and homers, has finally been given a chance to play as a regular on this team.  And, after that series with the Marlins, he is showing exactly why he possibly should have been in the lineup, and on the field, the entire time.
  So now what?  The kid is still 23 years old.  He is still a 'minimum wage' type player going into 2015. And, due to some additional injuries in the organization, he is not even playing short stop every day anymore to end this season. 
  Wilmer has bounced around the field, bounced between 2 levels, and bounced around the lineup, going from 8th to second, to 5th.  Yet, one this is for sure.  With actually consistent playing time, the kid is delivering. And he is delivering with power.  Along with the homers flying out of Citi Field in the recent Marlins series, he also hit shots that would have been homers at other ballparks (or possibly at the 2015 Citi Field park if fences are brought in). So what's stopping the organization from allowing Wilmer his shot in 2015?
  It can't be internal competition.  Ruben Tejada all but played himself out of favor with this organization. He has no power, he can't run, and he no longer hits for average with doubles like he did when he was first given his chance.  Matt Reynolds, no matter the video game numbers put up in the minors, also has no power, and no guarantee that his .300 plus hitting will continue at the major league level. Wilfredo Tovar, seemingly the forgotten one, also projects with zero power, and nobody predicting any batting titles in his future either.  So, basically, so have to reach down to the low minors to project any kind of possible competition, which is basically a group of teenagers with potential, you know, like Wilmer Flores type potential.
  So, everyone now speculates players outside the organization.  First and foremost......... how's that Stephen Drew guy working out this year.......... anyway, there are new names floating around as possible Mets next year.  One of which is JJ Hardy.  Well, I can try arguing stats:  this year, Hardy has a line of .276 BA, with 9 homers and 52 RBIs, at age 32.  So, you're telling me that 23 year old Wilmer Flores can't project out to better numbers then this?  Oh, and did I mention that Hardy may cost 15 million next year, as opposed to the peanuts that Wilmer be earning?  And yes, I did a little research, and I understand that Hardy averaged about 25 homers between 2011 and 2013.......you know what, Curtis Granderson also had back to back 40 homer seasons with the Yankees...... but its Citi Field's fault, not his I guess.
  The other options come from other organizations prospects.  Many were high on the Mets acquiring Nick Franklin from the Mariners.  Well, if you were against Wilmer and his inconsistent under .250 BA and a few homers this year, you probably wouldn't get excited about Franklin hitting about .160 with zero homers in his limited at bats and chance on the big stage this year.
  Theres also the kiddies in the Cubs organization.  Well, Starlin Castro keeps hitting, and apparently keeps getting himself into a little trouble with his attitude.  Oh, he also is making over 10mil a year, and commits enough errors to make Wilmer look like Ozzie out there.  There is also Javier
Baez, who projects to have a lot more power then Wilmer.  Oh, did I mention that he has 77 strikeouts in 170 at bats?  Meanwhile, Wilmer has 26 in 224 at bats.
  The other possible option is 20 year old Addison Russell, who finished out  AA ball season for the Cubs.  Looks great.  Also looks 'expensive' as far as trade value and asking price.  So, unless the Mets are ready to trade deGrom, Wheeler or a package that starts with Syndegaard, I'm guessing the Cubs will trade this excess commodity elsewhere.
  So where does that leave the Mets?  Sure, during the winter time, everyone will look great, and healthy. Most of the Mets Pitchers, even Harvey, will be ready to rock come February.
But, as we all know (ask the Braves), pitchers go down, and all the hitting and talent in the world can not consistently offset a number of injuries to other key positions. Which is why Sandy Alderson continues to publicly be against trading away pitching, especially young pitching (unless he is blown away with an offer of course).  Sooooooo, is it time for the Mets, as an organization, to make a statement, and maybe worry about another position on the diamond (say, LF), and let the 23 year old power bat, with a low K rate, and potential to hit for average, man the position for 550+ at bats in 2015?....................Anyway, what do I know...... If David Wright hits like David Wright next year, Grandy hits like a dude worth 15mil, Harvey pitches somewhere close to like Harvey, and Duda/TDA both continue hitting with power, we may not really care who fields the position at SS anyway, am I right?


Adam Smith said...

Yes. This.

I would argue that this offense, and this season, would have looked a whole lot better had Wilmer gotten Tejada's AB's all season. A SS who looks like a legit #5 hitter? Why would we want to play that guy? He's a big kid who's already shown that he can hit balls out of anywhere, and he's still just 23, a couple of years away from entering his prime power years. Oh, and he's very, very tough to strike out, and seems to get tougher in RBI situations.

I've also seen enough of him at the position at this point to say with certainty that I'll take his bat the lineup at SS every day.

Keep sending him to Michigan in the winters to make sure that he keeps in the kind of shape that will let him play SS, and you may well be looking at a multi-year all-star. SS's with power and contact ability are a rare and wonderful thing.

Now, about that LF...

Mack Ade said...

In think the Mets will NOW target LF in the off-season.

I also expect them to sign a LHRP

Past that, arbitration raises

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything said above. How about VanSlyke from the Dodgers for a stop gap for Nimmo or Canforti.

Lets go mets

Adam Smith said...

I hope you're right, Mack. I keep getting the feeling that spending on a Left Fielder (really, we should be talking about a RF) would be contingent upon freeing up Colon and Murphy's money. I'm not against that, given the current financial situation, but with arbitration raises coming, I just don't see addition without subtraction on the money side.

Meanwhile, Go Wilmer!

Anonymous said...

While i agree with the general sentiment of this article, i find a few points overly exaggerated.

1) In no way, shape, or form is Flores better defensively than Castro at the moment. Starlin Castro is no Simmons, but he is a legit SS at the moment; something we hope Flores can aspire to.

Plus, what's with the Castro "keeps getting himself into a little trouble with his attitude"? I see no recent articles to suggest this. In fact, i see the exact opposite: "Starlin Castro Keeps Right Attitude for the Chicago Cubs"

2) his low K-rate: In a vacuum, a low K-rate is good, but i would argue it's the opposite thus far with Flores. The low K rate correlates with his poor OBP and frequent week contact. I would prefer he K a little bit more in an effort to make harder and more consistent contact.

3)False equivalencies: You suggest Hardy's past production is not indicative what we should expect in 2015 (making a comparison to Granderson). Fair enough. But then you go on to "Grandy hits like a dude worth 15mil." Which is it? You can't have it both ways.

thunder12k said...

He hopes Grandy hits like a dude worth 15mil

Thomas Brennan said...

Speaking as Wilmer's agent, why would you want anyone else there? No, I'm not his agent but wish I was!

Let's not dismiss Reynolds so quickly...heckuva 2014 year, and maybe he'll have people advocating for him a year from now like they're advocating for future star Flores now. I do not want to put a ceiling on Matt. I'll let hime decide where his ceiling is.

Wilmer may never be Jose Reyes, but he may well be better than most. Soon. His bat will make us smile in 2015.

Tovar may be a Bud Harrelson. Fine fielder, solid hitter, also a firm believer in not striking out, even a little more power than Buddy. He should be at least a utility guy somewhere by 2016. My guess is his ceiling exceeds Ruben's.

Still like Danny Muno, but there are a lot of thoroughbreds on this track. Maybe a utility guy elsewhere? 2015 is a huge year for him: next career high minor guy, or bust thru the ceiling? He had a good 2014.

Anonymous said...


Sure he "hopes" that Granderson returns to recent averages, which is fair. But the same hope/expectation should also hold true with Hardy-which if happens, will in all likelihood make him a better SS than Flores in 2015.

Don't get me wrong, I want SS to be FLores' position to lose come next season, but let's be objective.

Ernest Dove said...

Well, stats wise, wilmer career fielding percentage is .978 while castro is at .963.........
And yes, I wrote that I hope grandy hits like a $15mil man

Anonymous said...

Fielding Percentage also says that Jimmy Rollins is the best defensive SS in baseball, followed by non other than Ruben Tejada.

Ernest Dove said...

I guess what I was trying to say was that I don't see wilmer averaging 20+ errors a year like castro, and he makes about a tenth of what castro earns per year.

Anonymous said...

I gotcha. Like i said, I think the general premise of your post is spot on, just that i disagreed with some of the finer points. Like you, i believe upgrades in free agents (even trades) are marginal at best when you look at player cost and production. This being even more true if Granderson & DW return to near normal levels and if TDA & Duda keep a similar pace

Ernest Dove said...

Im just glad ur on the site and reading the post, my friend.
Its all love here...... (well, not much love for the wilpons, but u get it)

Anonymous said...

Ha. Long-time reader and enjoy the variety of content and writers that congregate here. Maybe one day i will graduate to an identifiable username.

-a fellow mets fan

Anonymous said...

Also send Flores to IMG in florida with Nimmo. He'll be fine at short,till Rosario is ready. Lets Get Tomas and sign lefty specialist Andrew miller. keep Murphy-Colon and Gee till other GMs welt to Anderson's demands. Gotta believe in 15

Anonymous said...

The "send him to fitness camp" arguments make me laugh. These are professionals, with millions of dollars on the line...The best in the world at what they do. Pretty sure most are proactively doing what's necessary to play at the highest level.

Plus, if there real correlation between fitness camp and subsequently playing better, don't you think every player would be sent there?

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