Mike Freire - An Interesting Comparison


An Interesting  Comparison

I would like to preface this article by stating that statistics don't always tell a complete story, especially when you begin to extrapolate or project performance.   However, play along with me for just a few minutes and I think you will find the following comparison to be interesting, to say the least.

Player A (first "full season" statistics)

650 PA (age 22 season)

10 HR - 78 RBI - 14 SB

.800 OPS - 3.3 WAR

.969 Fielding Percentage - 22 Errors (negative 0.2 WAR)

Player B (first "full season" statistics)

650 PA (extrapolated from 228 AB - age 23 season)

28 HR - 88 RBI - 0 SB

.709 OPS - 1.5 WAR

.960 Fielding Percentage - 28 Errors (negative 0.4 WAR)

Upon first blush, they would seem to be pretty even statistically.  Player A has a healthier OPS and WAR, buoyed by a better Batting Average, On Base Percentage and Steals.   However, Player B is certainly a better power threat and both player's defensive statistics are pretty close, too.

Depending the mystery a bit more, they both play shortstop and both players are approximately 6-3 and 200 pounds.  

Clearly, I would take Player A if I had to pick (as would all of you).  By this point you may be onto what I am hinting at........Player A is Derek Jeter (first full year in 1996) and Player B is Wilmer Flores (first full year as the full time short stop in 2015).

Now, before anyone starts to freak out, I am NOT suggesting that Wilmer is the next Derek Jeter! 

However, before Jeter established himself as a future Hall of Fame player, his early statistics raised some questions.....especially defensively.  There was talk of moving him off of short stop due to his size and his penchant for making errors (sounds familiar).  Granted, he was special with the bat right away, so his defensive issues were minimized.   But, he was playing on championship caliber teams right from the "get go" so there was pressure to perform and it was in the same media spotlight that Wilmer now occupies.  

As we all know, the Yankees were patient with Derek and his glove work improved to the point where he was "league average" and it didn't cost the team that much, if at all (being one of the smartest players to ever play didn't hurt, as his defense was helped by proper positioning and anticipation).   The Yankees were quite successful during his career, proving that a player can overcome a perceived lack of defensive value, especially if they are above average offensively and still be a part of a successful baseball team.

While I don't see Wilmer necessarily following Derek's career path, I do think he has shown enough to date that the Mets (and our fan base) need to exercise some patience and see where this all goes.   Wilmer's bat may end up being special (middle of the order, run producer) and his defense should continue to get better with more repetitions (compare his April defensive stats to his stats since that time....or look at his defensive stats from last year at short stop, which were solid).

I think Wilmer can hold down the fort at shortstop until such time that Ahmed Rosario or Gavin Cecchini force him off of the position in a couple more seasons (and that is a big if, since prospects are unpredictable).

***Complicating this issue may be the unexpected vacancy at third base, due to David Wright's health issues (if Wilmer can handle short stop, then I am confident that he can handle third base).  

Either way, I am pleased with Wilmer's progress to date and I think he has a role now and on future Mets' teams.

Now, about left and right field...


Mack Ade said...

A nice post from an old Mack's Mets writer...

Thomas Brennan said...

What if Wilmer turns out to be even better, better than everyone thinks? I am starting to think he will.

Robb said...

If the Mets ever get a real shortstop, Flores will make a great fill in for Wright. If Wright comes back someone will pay an arm and a leg for Flores to play thirdbase for them. 25 homerun hitters that hit over 250 are pretty rare at the moment. especially on the infield.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mack.....I miss contributing to your site.


eraff said...

Through the Prime of his career, Jeter was generally a Plus Fielder...he was certainly an Impact Base Runner and a great, great situational player with the Glove, Bat and His Legs...and his Brain.

The Stratomatic Exploded view of players really helps define some basic characteristics, but it also explodes the actual player himself.

You are comparing a SS who played the last year or so as a defensive liability to a young Non-Shortstop who is battling to merely survive the position without sinking his team---yes...he's doing OK....but there is very little in the way of projectible growth for Flores, other than with the Bat in his Hand/ He has ZERO projection as a SS...that's NOT a bad thing because he seems to have a fairly high roof as a Hitter.

Anonymous said...

Just in my opinion @eraff, but at no point during his career should Jeter have been considered plus at all in the field. Definitely not as bad during his last few years but on his best days Jeter was maybe slightly above average at best, the smarts and baseball IQ definitely made him better on the field, but when I think of Plus glove SS Jeter definitely isn't in the conversation at any point during his career.

- Nick

eraff said...


You said, "Jeter was maybe slightly above average at best, the smarts and baseball IQ definitely made him better on the field".....

I used 4 words to say what you said.....although I believe he spent several years above your "Water Line".... he certainly fielded the position very capably---- there is NO SHOT for Wilmer to do more than SURVIVE it....and hope mthat the team survives him.

Anonymous said...

@Eraff, sorry just from the way it was put it seemed to be that you were stating during his peak years Jeter should be considered a plus defender at that time, which I way saying in no way, the smarts and baseball IQ is what made him in my opinion slightly above average during his best days.


eraff said...

He was a SS...and I believe he was a GOOD SDS...not Visquel---Heck, when ARod came to the Yanks, HE was a better SS than Jeter.

All that said---he made all routine plays....and I believe he was a Plus defender in his peak years.

If you had Jeter you'd move on to the next problem...it wouldn't be SS

Mack Ade said...

This just in...

7 more scoreless innings from Steven Matz today... in Vegas

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