In context, here are some of the names around him on the league-wide rankings:
|Not exactly Murderer's Row here.|
and here is Flores' company in the top five worst Mets by OBP since 1985 (min. 600 ABs):
|Yes, Rey Ordonez out-OBPd Wilmer Flores' current rate while a Met.|
Yes, perhaps this is cherry-picking a bit. Flores does plenty well on the diamond. He hits home runs, provides the middle of the order with a nice power threat, does not strike out too much and has proved to be a solid second baseman. I crusaded against Flores as a shortstop (for a year. A full year. And for good reason) but as a second baseman I do not mind him.
As a hitter I kind of do. He has a career walk rate of 4.2% (which is awful, for those of you unfamiliar with walk rates. League average is 8-10%). He also does not hit for a high average which makes his offensive contribution well below league average despite his power.
In fact, his wRC+ for his career sits at 85. For reference, light-hitting outfielder Juan Lagares is also at 85 for his career. Ruben Tejada is barely behind them both at 84. Josh Thole...85. Jason Bay...91. Yes. Jason Bay was 6% better offensively than Wilmer Flores. Here is his company:
The sample size for Wilmer Flores is getting significant. I am not ready to "give up on him" just yet as we both need him at second while Dilson Herrera rounds out his game in the minors and I also believe that his plus bat-speed has to eventually result in a better BABIP which should lead to a better average and better overall numbers.
However, for a grade-30 (I might even be generous with that) runner and a defender I still rate as well below average (though much better at second than short), he has to hit more than this. He absolutely has to walk more than this. He simply has to get on base more and create more runs. Otherwise, he's another Ruben Tejada at the plate and far worse with the glove. The current Mets team cannot support that in the middle of the lineup. Especially a lineup that also has Ruben Tejada, Juan Lagares, an increasingly useless Michael Cuddyer and streaky veterans like Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy and Curtis Granderson.
The 2015 Mets are built on pitching. However, as we have learned in the season's first half, runs are important. There are few hitters in all of baseball that have contributed less to scoring runs than Wilmer Flores over the past 200 games or so. Why fans continue to give him a pass but criticize a plus defender for putting up comparable offensive numbers is beyond me. I might be jumping ship far too early and could get burned for this, but I cannot help but look at Dilson Herrera as my 2B of the future and Flores a bench/utility piece or attractive trade bait. Someone will look at his positional "versatility" and power as attractive. I will gladly give that away for a player who will produce more runs.
Sounds off in the comments.