Matt Gad - A Franchise Shortstop? Now...or later on?


Many fans can poke at the decision that may ultimately be that lackluster Wilmer Flores will be the Opening Day shortstop when the team breaks camp. Also, Ruben Tejada is currently slated as his backup, however, this can all change. A lot of fans, and some media members are predicting that the future off-season moves won't concern the shortstop position, as with Sandy's comments, it almost seems as he would be fine if the job was given to Flores for the regular season.

     It is good and it is bad. While Flores is still not a natural shortstop, he was able to put up some solid numbers last season for the games he played in. Flores excelled in 78 games last season, collecting 13 doubles and 65 hits total, with one triple and six home runs. Also, Wilmer had 29 RBIs on the year. He did all of this in 274 plate appearances. While ideally, the Mets would prefer a defensive shortstop, they may need to make an upgrade for another top hitter, and it could land up needing to be at the shortstop position, as it is pretty much the only fully unknown position as we speak, other than in the starting rotation (if there's a trade), in the bullpen, and on the bench.

    There was also interest in what Texas has to offer, with three shortstops currently on their roster, headlined by Elvis Andrus. There is also interest among Jurickson Profar, however, a report recently indicated it seems as if the team's interest in these players has swayed. New York is also looking at a pair of defectors, in Japanese star Takashi Toritani, who is 33, and Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang. Toritani also has Scott Boras as his agent, and despite strong comments he would "fit perfectly" into the league, his age could still be considered a question mark if you wanted to build a future at that specific position.

   Down the line, the shortstops the Mets have in the fold, in the farm system are headlined by Matt Reynolds, who is 24 years old, who hits from the right side of the plate, and is 6 foot 1, and 198 lbs. He was drafted out of Arkansas by the New York Mets in the second round of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft, and has since spent time in Class-A Savannah, Double-A Binghmaton, and parts of the other years with Las Vegas, the B-Mets, and the St. Lucie Mets. His career minor-league baseball numbers include 286 games, 1,072 plate appearances, 164 runs scored, and 217 hits. Reynolds also collected a career batting average of. .283, and is expected to be starting alongside Dilson Herrera next year at shortstop. Herrera, who was called up late last year from Double-A never spent time in Vegas yet. The 51ers were in the playoffs, and it didn't make sense to pull one of them out of a playoff run, even if it was for the big league club, because eventually, it would happen. For more seasoning, Herrera will also spend this year with the Las Vegas club.

  We'll just have to see if Sandy Alderson will risk the immediate future, believing Reynolds, or someone else in the organization will emerge, or he will decide to market a big-ticket stud, or see the progress Flores continues to make. However, it seems the media believes the fans will all be unhappy with Flores, and while no one is going to be absolutely ecstatic about the idea, Flores has shown some nice qualities, and will continue to sharpen his skills in Spring Training, and throughout the season, if he is indeed cast as the starter. Again, we'll just have to see how it all goes. There are multiple roads to take, and for some, it will be unclear this year if the correct road is taken.


Thomas Brennan said...

Flores means "franchise" in Spanish - you can look it up in the Yogi Berra dictionary.

I think the Korean SS could be of interest, but how his production would translate is above my pay grade. Let's hope we have astute purveyors of talent who can correctly make that call.

All in all, I am good with Flores and Reynolds. Like Lagares after 2013, people look at 2014 and try to project Flores. Lagares surpassed almost everyone's expectations offensively in 2014, and I see Flores doing the same in 2015.

Flores. Offense over defense. I am completely on board on that. I will say again that Harvey in his breakout 2013 was 9-5 with a sickening TWELVE no decisions due to paltry offense. That is so "Met", the ability to turn a Seaver in most seasons into a guy with a decent record when he then goes to the Reds and promptly goes 14-2 because they could SCORE. Let's score runs and get these guys more wins. And make us happy :)

Lew Rhodes said...

Mets have a lot of high K pitchers - you can live with below average defense if you can get 8-10 strikeouts a game.

We can pontificate all we want, but I don't believe Sandy is bluffing - he turned down the Twins' offer of an average SS in exchange for Gee. If Sandy was puffing on Flores, he would have made that trade.

It isn't Reynolds that the organization wants to keep a near term path for - it is Cechenni (however you spell it!) He has a solid year in Georgia and was ok in the FSL (park and league factors included).

The reports on Cech2rh23r - ok Gavin - is that he will be at least an average ML SS all the way around - bat and glove

Of course the long term hope is Rosario - but he is still 3 years off

Back to Flores - he will hit - a lot, may be a top 5 offensive SS. If he hits like that, his defense can be below average. However, he has shown the desire to improve and get better - his willingness to work out last winter and this winter to improve his quickness (it is all about the first step) is what I really think sold the Front Office on him.

That's my take

And, I like Ruben as a back up - a solid glove, and he can pinch hit whenever the bases are loaded so he can draw an RBI walk!

Ernest Dove said...

Sports, like everything, mirrors life itself....... people are believed in and not believed in.......
Lagares supposed to be ALL glove, no bat.
deGrom supposed to be a 'live arm' who maybe can help bullpen.
Duda couldn't apparently beat out Ike.
Murphy is loved and hated all at the same time.......

Meanwhile, random teenagers every year are given million dollar contracts.
Some teenager playing in a Cuban league can apparently already project as a star shortstop. Some other Korean guys are supposed to be legit.
But a 6 year, homegrown and consistent formerly highly paid teenager whose paid his dues by dominating EVERY level of minor league baseball is said to be able to make all routine plays and turn double plays just fine. But since he 'lacks range', he's apparently useless at the shorstop position, even Iif he projects to pass double digits in homers and doubles, and drive in runs. God bless our society.

Adam Smith said...

I'm not a professional scout, but I just don't understand how you could have watched Flores hit over the last 6 weeks or so of the season, and not be in love with the kid's bat. Great bat control (he rarely swings and misses, nor K's) and flashes plus power. He got better and better the more comfortable he was able to get (nearly impossible for most of his stint in the bigs as he was continuously buried on the bench.) When I look at him, I see a very impactful #2 hitter - great hit and run skills, doesn't K, and don't dare make a mistake in the zone to him.

Unless he's consistently costing significant runs at SS, I'll take the profile over just about anyone we could reasonably (read: without giving up one of our big arms) hope to acquire. If you don't like him at SS, then I think you have a potential all-star 2B. Just let the kid hit for a year. If it's a disaster, we'll know soon enough. But I think his upside more than outweighs a lack of range.

S Finch said...

We are so darn quick to wish for Russel, Baez, Profar, Gregorious, Owens, and Sardinas..other teams unproven, yet highly regarded prospects.

Flores was a top 100 prospects for a number years-losing the ranking because he was a man without a position. I have one theory on his fielding:

It's clear old scouting reports say that his lack of range and bad footwork can't make up for his plus arm and soft hands. The early reports from scouts are near unanimous.

Without more advanced defensive metrics in the minors, this is all we can go on...a bunch of scouts that see a tall, awkward guy playing SS. We see him trip over his feet and determine he can't hack it. Perhaps these early reports were overstated and biased by scouts who determined Flores does not have the fluid motions of most slick latin fielders.

Advanced metrics for Peralta tell us something we don't see with our eyes; he is a pretty darn good SS. I don't think Flores is a good SS, probably not even average, but perhaps he is serviceable. If so, that offensive upside may look a lot like a S. Castro.

Mack Ade said...

No one is ever going to fall in love with his feet...

but, if the kid can hit, give him the chance

Thomas Brennan said...

Flores should rent the movie Happy Feet and watch it over and over. Could make him the next Ozzie.

More seriously, and to Adam's point, Wilmer started slowly in AAA in 2013 as a very young guy for that league. After the first month, his AAA stats the next 2 years were stunningly good, even for the PCL.

I think his late season run with the Mets in 2014 was the beginning of the Flores emergence as a guy who might just turn out to be as good a hitter as David Wright used to be - that may be a stretch, but maybe not.

Anonymous said...

No way our minor league SS are "headlined" by Reynolds. Amed Rosario is head and shoulders the best middle IF prospect in the organization and the only one you can dream of. Wilfredo Tovar is really underrated too. He is the best defender out of all of them, although the bat may be light on power.

Hobie said...

Took my 7 yr old grandson to his first MLB game late last season. He wanted to see the Apple rise out of the Hat and I was preparing an essay on disappointment. Then Flores hit TWO (and missed a third by 6 inches).

Now this next generation can't wait to see Wilmer again. Me too.

Charles said...

This team has the chance to be very special or just good. And it's because nearly every bat they have has a chance to have a great year or simply a decent one.

We need to have a majority of these guys have great years. If that happens, this team can certainly be in the playoff hunt at the end of September.

Mack's Mets © 2012