Reese Kaplan - A Diamond in the Rough

While everyone has been clamoring for some combination of Troy Tulowitzski, Jed Lowrie, Asdrubal Cabrera, Brad Miller, Chris Taylor, Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar to upgrade the Mets at shortstop, there is a prospect out there who has posted some pretty gaudy numbers that no one is talking about. 

Throughout his ascent through the minors he’s shown a propensity for making good contact, amassing a career. 292 batting average with a .334 OBP and a .440 Slugging Percentage.  In various seasons he’s hit as many as 18 HRs and 84 RBIs.  Better still, he’s never struck out more than 77 times in a season. 

Furthermore, he’s demonstrated that he’s dedicated to improving himself and shown a great work ethic.  He was criticized for his footwork and attended special training to improve it.  He was told he can’t run and this winter season in 42 ABs in addition to his unsurprising .310 batting average and the usual aggregate totals of HRs and RBIs he’s also already accumulated 3 SBs. 

So what’s not to love?  Great attitude, strong contact hitting from a run producer and defensive stats that would have put him in the top half of shortstops in the game last season.  Personally, I think the Mets should make an all-out effort to get this guy into their lineup every day and let him show what he can do.

His name, by the way, is Rodney Dangerfield…or maybe it got a little lost in translation.  He also goes by the moniker of Wilmer Flores. 

In the scheme of Mets problems – a lefty for the bullpen, some power off the bench from both sides and an extra 1-2 starting pitchers, shortstop is not nearly as a high a priority, yet you can’t swing a lifeless feline without hitting upon some article excoriating Sandy Alderson for not “fixing” the “shortstop problem”. 

Good strides were made during the winter meetings (believe it or not).  John Mayberry smashes left handed pitchers (30 HRs in 490 ABs).  Sean Gilmartin and Scott Rice may or may not be the answer to the bullpen dilemma.  The newcomer has the leg up as he must be on the roster or offered back to the Twins.  All Rice has is a minor league deal, though he was used and abused regularly by Terry Collins and we know how much the manager fears change and favors veterans over rookies. 

Right now the more interesting things to watch include which current 40-man roster occupant gets voted off the island to make room for the two newcomers (there were only 39 spots occupied).  It will also be interesting to see if there is any interest in any of the three international middle infield prospects – Jung-Ho Kang of Korea, Takahashi Toritani of Japan or Yoan Moncada of Cuba.  Doing so likely isn’t as much a condemnation of Rodney, er, Wilmer, as much as it is a further reason to move Daniel Murphy sooner rather than later.  

Going into the Winter Meetings I had no delusions that All-Star caliber players were Queens-bound.  I applaud the small moves that were made.  If anything is frustrating, it’s the thus far inability to shed payroll.  However, the season is still 3.5 months away, so I am not hitting the panic button.  After all, if Terry Collins has another contract to lead this team, is shortstop really their biggest problem?


Bill Metsiac said...

"there is a prospect out there who has posted some pretty gaudy numbers that no one is talking about."

Really? I've seen lots of talk about him, both pro and con. And as I've already said many times, IMO he should be there every day unless he shows he's not up to the task.

I've read that the Cuban kid is planning to wait until June to sign, when more teams have Internation signing money freed up. If so, that'd give us 3 months to see how Wilmer does at Flushing and Reynolds at Wallyville. If there's a need to look outside, that'd be the time to look at Moncado.

eraff said...

You find the Shortstop situation to be a very low priority "need"???.....but "if ANYTHING is frustrating" to you, it's the inability to cut payroll...????

Wow... I'm in disagreement about both of those things, individually---in combination, I'm Flabberghasted!!!!!

Reese Kaplan said...

What I meant is everyone is obsessing over players with inferior pedigree and ignoring what Flores has done and should be able to do, insisting inferior players must be better.

Ernest Dove said...

Maybe Wilmer is the next edgardo alfonso.........maybe he's the next elite America league DH......maybe he's out of baseball within 5 years. ..
He deserves his shot either way.

StarvingHystericalNaked said...

I agree that Flores deserves some sort of shot, just not necessarily at SS. Because defensively he's not one. He doesn't make a ton of errors … the problem is he doesn't get to enough balls to have the chance to. Think about all those singles! Flores & Murphy will be the worst defensive middle infield in MLB next year.

And just like you don't know what Flores will be, you don't know any of these international inferiors are in fact inferior.

Hobie said...

If Wilmer fields like Jeter, hits like Ripken (not as great as it sounds--the other way around would be a HOF'er), would you take that?

Lew Rhodes said...

I said the other day - when Sandy turned down the trade of a solid SS for Gee, it is a real sign that Wilmer is held in good regard by the folks that matter

Thomas Brennan said...

The real Rofney Dangerfield, as I've nagged Mack about many times, is Danny Muno! But Wilmer is my shortstop, since Bud Harrelson and Roy Macmillan are off the market.

Steve from Norfolk said...

Between Flores and Reykolds, I'm not worried. The reports on Reynolds are good, so if Wilmer has problems, Reynolds can take over. I don't expect that to happem. While Reynoldswould perform at a level at least equal to Lowrie and certainly Brad Miller, I think that Wilmer may really turn out to be the second coming of Alfonzo. He's versatile, he hits very well, and he's a very hard worker. Whatever potential he has, he'll pull it out. We've got no w rries. Flores will surprise all of the skeptics in the house.

S Finch said...

Couldn't agree more..However, i do understand the reservations of a Flores & Murphy middle infield for 140 games.

I would actually be ok if the Mets used an all glove SS and employed Flores as a super utility player. Give Wright and Murphy regular days off. Play him at SS when there is a LHPand at first on occasion. He should be the first pinch hitter off the bench. Unfortunately, i just can't see him used properly in this role. He needs a minimum of 300 ABs, and if he won't get it as a super utility guy, he needs to start.

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