There Is No Plan For Wilmer Flores

For the longest time Wilmer Flores was considered the Mets’ most promising minor league position player. We finally had a peek at him last summer, but it was far too little to find out where he fits.

FLORES: What are they thinking?

FLORES: What are they thinking?

He played a lot of third base when David Wright was injured, which I thought was a mistake. Flores would never supplant Wright at third, so those were wasted at-bats.

The Mets played him briefly at second in place of Murphy, which was another mistake because there aren’t any imminent plans to replace Murphy.

The played him some at first base, which in a platoon with Lucas Duda could be a possibility.

The rap on him is his range, which put shortstop out of the scenario. However, is it really much of a problem? There are shortstops without great range which compensate by positioning. This was never explored on the minor league level. Instead, he was played at positions – third and second – which were blocked above.

Meanwhile, shortstop remains a black hole for the Mets. I would have liked Flores to play shortstop in winter ball, and want to see him there in spring training, just to see what he can do.

Shortstop is one hole the Mets need to fill, and how do they know Flores can’t do it unless they play him there. It’s not as if he could do any worse.

32 thoughts on “There Is No Plan For Wilmer Flores

  1. I’ve never seen Flores play SS and they don’t keep particularly detailed stats on minor league defense…so I can’t thoroughly evaluate Flores’ D myself but he did play 453 games in the minor leagues at SS. I would think that something as basic as positioning was likely explored at somepoint during those 453 games. It would be great if the Mets could find themselves a SS (they need one) but I’m not sure if putting a terrible defensive player at arguably the most important and hardest defensive position is the way to go.

    And I also wouldn’t call Flores AB while playing 2b/3b “wasted”. Just b/c he’s not going to be the Mets permanent 3b (barring a disaster) doesn’t make those ABs worthless. It’s good for a young player to get some experience facing major league pitching, regardless of what position he is slotted into the lineup while getting them. If anything, it’s probably better for him to have been able to play the positions he’s played more regularly of late…instead of having to play an unfamiliar position (it’s been a few yrs since he was at SS) and learn major league pitching at the same time.

    • Between what you wrote and John’s article, both IMO, thought provoking, potentially leading to a terrific baseball conversation, and one I would love to join. My head is spinning right now due to the proposed scenarios, but will throw down a decent comment in around 45 minutes. I’ll add this before I get started. A) LOVE the idea of Flores at SS, my god it’s worth a shot, especially considering we have defensive replacements in the organization in Tejada and Tovar. B) Agree with applesauce about those 2b/3B AB’s not being wasted. And C) I have very high hopes for Wilmer, and have liked what I’ve seen, albeit, a very small sample size. And D) He’ll fair somewhere in-between F-Mart and JoseR, and I’m guessing smack dab right in the middle, which, IMO, is just fine with me.

      • Yeah that would be nice if it could work out.

        And I’m someone who generally would much rather have a guy who can hit and plays questionable D than an all glove guy. But I’m just not sure if Flores at SS is feasible. Like I said above I don’t feel that I know enough to judge him myself…but others who are more qualified to judge than I am view him as a horrid SS. And the actions of the organization suggest that as well since they moved him off of SS. Usually teams keep players at positions like SS as long as they can to keep their value up.

        But nothing is impossible I suppose.

      • Don’t want Flores at Ss. They moved him from there because they say he is too slow. Looking at him play 2b shows he is weak defensively. I think they put him out at 3rd to make him comfortable so I disagree with John on that.

        I would like to see him at first just to see. He has a good bat.

        What I hate are these discussions of power.

        A good team can be had of great pitching and defense with good hitting. I don’t see the narrative of the bombers who are all or nothing sucky players.

        • Dave, lets say the Mets hit 125 HR’s next year, and 30 came from first base. Or, the Mets hit 125 HR’s and 17 came from first base. What’s the difference? I always thought that was a little overstated myself. This is what matters to me, if your not productive at first, you better have one heck of a glove, or a decent batting line. In Flores case I’d want 430 AB’s at various positions with a line like this (for a second year player, more of a 2014-rookie than anything else) ,275, 12-HR, 60 RBI, 65-R, 25-2B. That may be asking to much……

          • Wow! I finally found other people that agree with me on “the first baseman must hit with power” argument! I always saw this as ‘cart-before-the-horse’ thinking that became a baseball axiom. The reason most 1B’s have had power isn’t because they play 1B. It’s because they had a power bat but couldn’t play defense so they were put in the position where they were the least liable to commit errors while still allowing for their bat to be in the lineup. This idiotic saying that “you want power from 1B” drives me nuts! The Mets need power, period. That’s regardless of what position from which they get it. (It might be easier to find at 1B but that doesn’t mean it is the only thing that can be found at 1B.)

            I don’t recall Keith Hernandez hitting a ton of home runs. But I do remember him being a .300 hitter and run producer (the Gold Glove defense is an added bonus). If Flores can hit .300 and get 100 RBI’s, I couldn’t care less how many home runs he hits.

            • Yes. Keith was a great hitter. He hit line drives and drove in runs or kept the team alive for the next person. And then there was the defense.

              Ike used to be that. A good hitter who might get better and a really nice glove. His defense suffered since he got stepped on and the power went to his head where he trades hr for no ba and a ton of k’s.

            • AV: It would be nice if they were all Willie McCovey. But, the ability to hit and not give away at-bats is more important than just home runs. Who wants 35 homers with 60 RBI and a .210 average? Rather have less homers and greater average, which, if in the proper spot in the batting order could lead to more run production.-JD

            • In a snap. Flores would have fantastic value putting those numbers up, spread across various positions. Those numbers, most would perceive , are guestimated through rose colored glasses, and in november, when the skies not falling(80% of every awake minute) my glasses are indeed rose colored.

    • Why don’t they move Eric Young, Jr to short with Quintanilla (or Tovar when he’s ready) and Turner as backups while leaving Murphy at 2nd, and simply platoon Flores, Duda (or Dykstra) and Satin at 1st? This would solve our shortstop problem, and let us concentrate on our outfield dilemma which can be addressed by signing Grady Sizemore for left field, and Corey Hart for right with Chris Young as a backup outfielder along with Den Decker as our centerfield lefty reserve player. An outfield consisting of Lagares in center, Hart is right and Sizemore in left with Den Decker and Young as capable fielding (and hopefully hitting backups) might just do the trick. It would certainly leave the Mets some money to spend on pitching.

      • Yazzy: Shortstop is too important a position to tinker with. … I’ve always been intrigued with the idea of Sizemore as a reclamation project. The outfield you suggest is definitely better than the one they had last year.-JD

  2. Based on what I’ve read, Wilmer Flores would lose a foot race to Lucas Duda. His range at 2B has even been questioned.

    His best position is 3B or, as Paul dePodesta once said, his best position is batter’s box. Playing him at third during Wright’s injury made sense because his bat is highly regarded around the league and showing he can handle the position makes him a more attractive trade piece.

  3. Before getting to defense, here’s what I like about Wilmer as a hitter. I love his stance. At first I hated it. So far away from the plate, but after watching Wil’s approach….spit on anything outside black, or off the plate. Zone in on meatballs, turn on inside black, whilst willing to swing on a ball-in, and-off-the-plate an inch or 2. In a small sample size Wilmer did not put up good numbers last year. Partially due to injuries, being a rookie, and such, but from what I saw I liked. His numbers out the gate, were very good though, if I’m not mistaken.

    I just read AV’s comment, good stuff AV, and after thinking about this, I think Wilmer should be given some reps at SS this spring, just so we get a looksie. But, I’m now leaning to Wilmer as our full time FB. I done with Duda, and firmly believe Ike will be shopped, as that buzz, since started, has yet to quit. Where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire, and this is the hot stove. I was clammoring away for Brendan Ryan at SS, because my personal philiosophy is strong defense all around, especially up the middle. I guess Flores is a downer in this scenario with his perceived poor range. Great pitching, 1-through-12, and hitters on the squad that have conquered big ball parks. I do like the fact that Wilmer was put in a diverse role in ’13 for several reasons. To prove he’s passable at a number of positions. See, on a MLB level, where he appears strong. And, potential for future supersub role in the 2014 season, giving us a guy who can be slotted in all 4 infield positions. My gut is telling me FB right now, but would like to see Flores get reps at SS in the spring to see if there’s any marketly improved range, highly unlikely but possible.

    Lastly, my medicine has now overcome me, and this will be my last comment of the night. Tomorrow, I will go back 5 articles or so to look for any replys I have directed at me.

    Good stuff John, as always, keep up the good work, and I’m loving multiple daily posts.

    Until then, I’m off. Have fun blogging.

      • Wilmer comes accross as a very unitimidated ballplayer, and especially so for a kid. If I’m right here, a task like this, supersub, may be a one that he’s glad to take on. Prove a lot of people wrong in several areas, a task easier for a non-intimidated individual.

  4. Let’s not put Daniel Murphy in the HOF here by saying 2nd base is blocked. I mean the guy very likely could be traded this offseason so 2nd base is definitely an option.

    • Rk: I’m not even putting him in the Mets Hall of Fame. Just saying it isn’t a priority. If Flores hits lights out in spring training and has good reps at second, he should be considered.-JD

  5. Just a out of the box suggestion that’ll never hapen. I thought I had it all figured out til I read the comment, anyways here’s a plan for Wilmer.

    We sign Furcal and start him in the 3 highest ground ball pitchers starts, and Flores the 2 biggest fly ball pitchers. We’ll have Furcal for late defense if we need it, a non taxing assignment. A tough lefty on the mound, a good game for Murph to get a day off, and we throw Flores over, 5 times a year. And when there’s a lefty on the mound FLores starts at FB, Davis can get the 120 starts verse righties
    So, lets see what this Flores can do, over 430 at bats, logged over various positions, and if Flores comes across as competent, and holds his own, not only coUld we know, exponentially better, his value as a MLB player we make things easy for Ike Davis, setting him up verse RHP. Wilmer Flores starts verse LHP at FB. This gives the Mets a greater chance at statistical improvement in 2 departments and maybe even great accomplishments 25 bombs, 450 AB’s, 270 BA from Ike.

    A) removes a befuddling obstacel from a lot of Ike’s plate appearences, facing leftys
    You could argue that this alone could be the best way to get Ike on track
    Keep it simple, set up Ike for success.
    One less thing for him to worry about in 2014. Never face a lefty.
    This could get Ike in a zone, and he’s been banged up a few times, a 7-out-of-10-game a year player could also inhance Ikes stats
    C) This removes pressure, and one could argue, leads to positive momentum fro Ike, who’s run with it in the past.
    D) When Ike’s hot, he’ll be a big LH bat off the bench in games he doesn’t start.
    E) His market value will be a lot higher if the easy assignment(comparitively speaking) pays off statistically. The financial commitment is such that they still have the vast majority of there funds left to spend elsewhere, as this move costs Furcal(2.5)Davis(3.3)Flores(500K) to fill 1st and short. We have 2 organizational guys in Tejada and Tovar that provide insurance, both cheap, and under control, at least 1 has options, and both are great backups for 2014.

    In this scenario. We know who’s playing 3rd, We know who’s playing 2nd, We know who playing every start verse RHP at firstbase. We know who’s getting babied at SS for 110 starts and told not to run hard when it will result in an out 97% of the time. And FLores can get 40 starts at FB, 50 starts at SS(unless his range hurts us, then insurance policy, tejada or tovar) 4 starts at 3rd base starts, 4 at second base, and pinch hit 20 times a year. That is about 430 sheduled AB’s, and may be a good number to aim for, I think he’s been banged up along the way.

    Because Flores has played all 4 IF positions, this scenario, not only is plausable, it could prove benificial in many ways. Saves money, and sets up 2 “ifs” up for success, potentially creating 2 very nice chips, or players you build a winner around. This is cheap. And allows us to spend elsewhere. It relieves a logjam at first. gotta deal or non tender Duda and spend the 1.8 million on Furcal’s salary. Next guy for Duda’s role should be EL MVP Alan Dykstra. He reallly needs to work on defense. And all the other logjaming firstbsemen need to be optioned, dealt, non tendered. No need to go with so many below average first basemen taking up spots, when we’re trying to build a winner.

    This type of in house tinkering on the infield saves our FO time, and resuoces to address other needs, and keeps it that much simpler of a team to fix. In a nutshell, we really can’t get any cheaper and with little to no risk, could exponentially raise the stock of 2 our home-grown former-blue-chips, to either build or deal, or just simply say, good draft picks.

      • Ike’s ceiling for 2014 40 HR, 120 RBI, .275(600AB)
        Ike’s basement 2014, 8 HR, 30 RBI, .190(300AB)

        With the FO lust for power, and 115-to-1 odds to win it all, it makes sense to at least try and save him for 1 more year. If, however, we get a good trade offer….Ike’s potential for another player with similar potential, then I deal. I hate the fact that Ike can’t hit the breaker. It makes it such a hard journey to get back to the top.

        • megamets: His ceiling is 32 homers, because that’s the most he’s ever hit. I see the logic in keeping Davis around one more year, but they seem determined to get rid of him.-JD

  6. By all accounts there is no way Flores can play even the OF. So how can he be expected to play SS? I still stay if you believe in his bat throw him in LF. How can an ex SS be any worse than Murphy or Duda?

    • I don’t think Wilmer is playing fall ball(99%), so in the spring, why not, I say give Wilmer a looksie.

      That said, such a young player, may be more inclined to gather positive momentum while playing in a familiar designed role. Which kind of makes a handful of my comments look sort of stupid, but that’s what I’m thinking this very second.

  7. Teach him OF as well now….. then we have a Kevin Mitchell ……. can fill multiple roles…. Ha ha.