The MLB All-Star game is less than a month away, it’s scheduled for Marlins Park in Miami on July 11. At the the beginning of this season, Mets fans could reasonably hope for players like Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Yoenis Cespedes to be serious contenders for the NL squad, with several others having decent chances. Syndergaard certainly did pitch like an All-Star, until he hurt his lat muscle and became unavailable. In his most recent start, against the Cubs, deGrom pitched like an All-Star, but he hasn’t the rest of the season and he would be a longshot at best to be picked. As to Cespedes, he is ninth in the fan voting for outfielder, but with injuries piling up for him and given his somewhat cavalier attitude toward what games he would play in, he too is unlikely to be chosen.
Each team traditionally has at least one player picked, and outfielders Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce each have a case to be chosen. Conforto was not even on the ballot but he is having a very nice season. Jay Bruce is buried at 13th in the fan voting but deserves to be higher on his 17 home runs so far this year.
There is another Met who deserves serious consideration for a slot on the NL team, and that would be red-hot infielder Wilmer Flores. Flores could earn the spot not for his glove but for his bat. The All-Star game format uses a DH format, and the NL manager (Joe Maddon) gets to pick one, and hopefully he would consider Flores.
Flores is having a tremendous offensive season. His overall numbers show 138 at-bats, five homers, and a slash line of .326/.349/.507, which is pretty good. Against right-handed pitchers he has 104 AB, 3 homers, and a .298/.327/.462 slash line, better than usual for him. But we all know know what he can do to southpaws, his numbers against them are 34 at bats, 2 homers, and a ball-pulverizing .412/.417/.647 slash line. All stats are from ESPN.com and were current as of Monday night June 12.
Flores could be used several ways. Say the AL starts left-hander Chris Sales. Starters usually go 2 innings in the All-Star game, so Flores could be the DH and maybe bat fifth or sixth in the order meaning he would bat against the lefty, unless the pitcher was knocked out of the box very early. Then if a righty is pitching the next time around the order Maddon could send up a pinch-hitter or stay with Flores since he is respectable against right-handers this year.
If a right-hander starts, Flores could be held back. Imagine if late in the game the NL has men on base in a close one, with a left-handed batter due up. If the AL countered with a lefty reliever, that would allow Maddon to bat Flores in a spot where he could really do some damage.
In reality, the Mets may only get one player on the team, and that would probably be Bruce. But it sure would behoove Maddon to strongly consider Flores as well, he could be a dangerous weapon in the NL manager’s arsenal of players.