Wilmer Flores is at the heart of the internal solution

Today we are taking a look at how the Mets minor leagues and those players under contract could be used to create the best possible team for 2018. This assumes, as some of us already do, that the Mets are going to stay out of the bidding for some of the top Free Agents like Mike Moustakas, Jonathan Lucroy and Wade Davis.

The Rotation:

Some things are written in stone, namely Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, but some things are less clear. Matt Harvey has had a seriously rough season, though he is entering his final year of arbitration, Zack Wheeler struggled in his return to active pitching duty and Steven Matz looked decidedly less impressive than he had in previous seasons.

Then the Mets had some surprisingly strong showing from players like Rafael Montero as well as quality innings from Seth Lugo, Robert Gsellman and Chris Flexen (Though their results were decidedly mixed). Behind them the Mets have players like Corey Oswalt, P.J. Conlon and Marcos Molina who all pitched in AA and all could contribute to the major league roster.

MLB Rotation:
1. Noah Syndergaard
2. Jacob deGrom
3. Matt Harvey
4. Steven Matz
5. Robert Gsellman/Rafael Montero

In the end the Mets need to get the most out of the arms they have and it seems that Wheeler’s arm doesn’t have the length in it to go deep into games. He and Lugo both go to the bullpen while Gsellman and Montero vie for the final rotation spot. Flexen and Oswalt will be waiting in AAA and Conlon will be discussed later on.

The Bullpen:

The Mets will be hoping for a return to form from Jeurys Familia and have added a quality reliever in A.J. Ramos for support. Behind them we’ve already added two (three) starters leaving a stiff competition between Paul Sewald, Jamie Callahan, Eric Goeddel, Jacob Rhame, Hansel Robles and Josh Smoker.

MLB Bullpen:
● CL – Jeurys Familia
● SU – A.J. Ramos
● SU – Zack Wheeler
● MR – Paul Sewald
● MR – Seth Lugo
● MR – Josh Smoker
● LR – P.J. Conlon

You’ll notice that Robles is not appearing in the 2018 bullpen and that is by design. He and Goeddel are pushed out of the bullpen and (ideally) back to AAA where the Mets can hold them in reserve as Rhame and Callahan work on developing their stuff. While AAA is a pitchers nightmare the Mets should look to make it a proving ground with so many MLB ready pitchers currently designated to that level.

The Lineup:

Everyone reading this has to know that ideally the Mets are not going into 2018 without signing someone to play third base. Either way, I’ve penciled Wilmer Flores onto the team. In a perfect world the Mets are using the defensively limited player at second base where his suspect arm’s impact is minimized. The Mets need to give his bat a shot at a full-time gig in the lineup.

Other positions are more obvious. Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto return to the corners of the outfield and the heart of the lineup, Travis d’Arnaud (when healthy) and Kevin Plawecki assume catching duties, and some amalgamation of Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo winds up in the outfield. The youngsters, Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario should be locked into their respective positions of first base and shortstop for at least another year.

That only leaves second base. Do the mets pick up the option on a diminishing Asdrubal Cabrera (probably) or do they roll the dice on a player who had a down year like Gavin Cecchini?

MLB Lineup:
1. Amed Rosario, SS
2. Brandon Nimmo, CF
3. Yoenis Cespedes, RF
4. Michael Conforto, LF
5. Wilmer Flores, 3B
6. Dominic Smith, 1B
7. Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B
8. Travis d’Arnaud, C

In the end the Mets should probably stick with the safer option of having the veteran bat in the bottom third of the lineup although I would prefer they spend their money in other ways.

MLB Bench:
● C2 Kevin Plawecki
● OF4 Juan Lagares
● OF5 Travis Taijeron
● MI Gavin Cecchini
● CI T.J. Rivera

Nothing terribly exciting with regards to the bench as the Mets are handling things internally, for this exercise. I much prefer the Mets to make some moves.

25 comments for “Wilmer Flores is at the heart of the internal solution

  1. Jimmy P
    September 25, 2017 at 10:35 am

    I think this would be a recipe for mediocrity — which is all it takes these days when the goal is to cut costs and compete, more or less, for the 2nd WC.

  2. September 25, 2017 at 11:27 am

    Where is Blevins?

    • David Groveman
      September 25, 2017 at 11:35 am

      That’s my bad, Mike.

      I had mistakenly forgotten about his option.

      • David Groveman
        September 25, 2017 at 11:36 am

        Slide out smoker and slide in Blevins both into the bullpen and in a Setup role.

  3. Fletcher Rabbit
    September 25, 2017 at 11:33 am

    Are we supposed to take seriously an “analyst” who fails to make mention of Jerry Blevins, and ignores the top offensive player since June, José Reyes? Sheesh …

    • Jimmy P
      September 25, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      Oh, stop it. Blevins was an oversight. On Reyes, I don’t think he’s recommending.

      I personally think Jose needs to go away and I don’t care about 2nd half numbers. Look at the big patterns.

      • Fletcher Rabbit
        September 25, 2017 at 6:07 pm

        Why should we overlook a blatant mistake by someone who holds himself up as an expert? And as for Reyes, my principal objection is that he chooses to not even address the question. Oh, and I don’t necessarily enjoy your snotty attitude!

        Editor’s Note – Please do not capitalize words in your post, as that is a violation of our Comment Policy.

        • September 25, 2017 at 6:16 pm

          You could have pointed out his mistake in a neutral way. Instead, you did it with a condescending attitude. Hey, that’s your right. But when you act like a jerk, don’t be surprised when other people tell you that you’re being a jerk. You reap what you sow.

          • David Groveman
            September 25, 2017 at 8:37 pm

            To Fletcher:

            I am best versed in the Met minor league system. Major League contracts aren’t something I have a perfect grasp of.

            Someone pointed out the mistake and I appreciated that because Blevins has been great. Be nice and people will be nice in return.

            As for Reyes, he didn’t fit into what this article was focusing on.

            I’m sorry my error upset you so much.

            Have a good week

  4. Hobie
    September 25, 2017 at 11:55 am

    I have the notion that will be pretty close to opening lineup (and favor using Moustakas money on a SP if that’s a zero sum game). So, assuming Cabrera & Flores will get the lion’s share of PT at 2B & 3B, my “eye test” reveals Asdrubal at 3B & Wilmer at 2B to have a slight defensive advantage. Do my eyes deceive me?

    • David Groveman
      September 25, 2017 at 11:57 am

      They don’t.

      Flores doesn’t have a good arm and Cabrera would be better at third but the Mets seem to fear how he would hurt the team’s double play mechanics.

  5. Chris F
    September 25, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    We start out with Flores playing a position where his defense wont hurt the team so much….

    and the recipe for finishing in third place in the east is literally baked into our DNA.

    And Flores did “get a shot” playing a whole season at SS and 2B to very little distinction.

    • David Groveman
      September 25, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      You know this isn’t what I want. It’s purely an exercise in what we have if we do nothing.

      • Chris F
        September 25, 2017 at 1:03 pm

        sure, I just get bummed we are heading to crap next year, and this miserable experience isnt even over. And that the line up you are writing in there is actually close to what reality will be.

  6. Jimmy P
    September 25, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Here’s my comment:

    Why does Sandy Alderson get to pick the next Mets manager?

    We know he’s going to go with a bland, corporate, middle manager type. It’s funny, I saw a blog that said “Mets need next Francona type.” Which is a joke, because Sandy would never in a million years hire a strong-minded manager.

    Sandy will be around for, what? a year or two? And he gets to stick us with Bob Geren or some other vapid specimen?

    Real owners would move out Sandy and TC and the staff. And they’d give the new GM some support, some payroll to work with, and the Mets could compete for the NL East in 2018.

    We’re not going to see that.

    The rot begins at the head.

    • Chris F
      September 25, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      Unfortunately, all very very true.

      • TexasGusCC
        September 25, 2017 at 2:17 pm

        +1

    • Joe Gomes
      September 25, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      Bring Omar back. At least he knew how to pick talented players.

  7. Joe Gomes
    September 25, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    I agree, switch Cabrera and Flores. Flores is a better 2B than 3B and Cabrera’s arm is way more accurate than Flores.

    BTW, Cecchini was / is a shortstop which to me means a good arm. That being the case, shouldn’t he be in the 3B picture as well?

    • Jimmy P
      September 25, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      Cecchini has a weak, scattershot arm, which is why he was moved off SS in the first place.

      It reminds me of Matsui. Guy was scouted, Mets signed him, placed him at SS and moved Reyes to 2B. Meanwhile, Matsui couldn’t make the throws and Jose had a gun.

      It was hard to fathom what these scouts saw.

      I think Cecchini has a Matsui-like noodle.

  8. Doug
    September 25, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    To say that Montero had a “surprisingly strong showing” on the strength of 5-11 with a 5.30 ERA and a 1.722 WHIP speaks to some seriously diminished expectations…

    • David Groveman
      September 25, 2017 at 4:48 pm

      He was lucky to still have those seriously diminished expectations.

  9. Metsense
    September 25, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Interesting exercise and can be used to see where the priorities should be placed.
    Offensively, all the your starting position players have an above average or near average OPS for their positions except at first base. Starting pitching falls off at the 3rd started spot in the rotation. The relief pitching is alright with Familia-Ramos-Blevins but not deep enough.
    A top flight starter to team with deGrom and Syndergaard, a relief pitcher as good as Ramos and a power hitting first baseman for the middle of the order would make them competitive. The Mets can’t expect to compete until they improve the pitching outside of the organization.

  10. TexasGusCC
    September 25, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Flores will be an above average second sacker. His defense will be average, but his bat will be big. While I rag on Flores for not putting in the work defensively, his complete lack of speed makes him slow on both sides of the ball and this his biggest drawback.

  11. MattyMets
    September 27, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    This is actually a very useful exercise as it allows you to zero in on the weakest components. The tricky part is focusing on positional holes vs. lineup holes. That said, the two biggest holes are a lead off hitter (CF or 2nd base) and another middle of the order bat (RF or 3rd base). We can’t realistically upgrade at CF, 2b, 3b, and add a bullpen arm and starter. We might have to stand pat at second, where we have options.

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