Wilmer Flores would flourish at first base

The Mets’ management is on record as saying they still have an interest in adding an infielder this off-season to play either third base or second base. True to their word Monday evening they inked third baseman Todd Frazier to a two-year deal. While everyone debates the merits of signing Frazier, where exactly does that leave Wilmer Flores?

Last year, Flores split his time between first, second and third base. He was limited to 110 games in 2017, mainly because of an infected knee early in the season and then a broken nose via a foul tip on September 2nd. He should be all set to go for 2018 barring some unforeseen ST injury.

When he did play, he was an offensive force. In 362 PA he posted a slash line of .271/.307/.488 with 18 home runs. The only other infielder on the Mets roster who had similar production was Asdrubal Cabrera with a slash line of .280/.351/.434.

Of course, the main gripe with Flores has always been his defense, He did post negative UZR numbers in 2017, mainly because he had a -2.8 in 425 innings at third base. He actually had positive numbers at both second and first base, of 0.1 and 0.5 respectively. Those numbers are not going to blow anyone away, but they do indicate Flores is a relatively satisfactory defender, especially at 1st base, but not at third. His biggest problem has always been the long throws and first sackers do not have to make such throws very often.

So it seems that the most effective use of Flores would be to make him the full time first baseman, again assuming the Mets do sign a capable second or third baseman this off-season.
The competition at 1st base is not very impressive. Dom Smith had a poor debut season, with a .198/.262/.395 slash line, and a negative UZR of -0.8. Aging acquisition Adrian Gonzalez put up a .242/.287/.355 slash line with the Dodgers with a -1.4 UZR. The Mets also have Jay Bruce, who has played very few innings at 1b in his career and is likely to be needed in the outfield for at least the first part of the season due to the Michael Conforto injury.

Flores has always hit left-handed pitching well, and 2017 was no exception with a .291 BA and seven HR against southpaws. But he was also decent against right handers, with 11 HR and a .262 BA. Flores will turn 27 this year, putting him in the range of normal peak value for a player.

The bottom line is that Flores is an adequate defender at first, and he is a very good hitter who deserves to be in the lineup.

33 comments for “Wilmer Flores would flourish at first base

  1. Tommy2cat
    February 6, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Thank you for the thoughtful analysis

    • John Fox
      February 6, 2018 at 10:48 am

      Thanks for the kind words, Tommy

  2. February 6, 2018 at 9:23 am

    Flores will platoon with AGon this year and the offense coming from 1B will be fine. Dom Smith will go to AAA and rake, get in shape, and probably be called up this summer when there is bound to be either an injury to an INF, moving Flores around, or a trade. Hopefully, Dom does well in AAA and comes and helps Mets in the dog days of summer with a fresh bat. 2B will be Asdrubal’s to hold with Reyes behind him, SS is all Rosario’s.
    I am good with the acquisition of Frazier. Good clubhouse guy with Bruce will be very important. New focus and enthusiasm with the new manager and some luck with pitcher’s health, some, mind you, not all perfect health, just some and this is a 90 win team. Why ? because: Thor all year is +5 min, Matz and Harvey, at least +2, Frazier +3, full year of Rosario +2, full year of Cespedes +3, Bullpen with Familia all year and additions of Swarzak and Ramos another +3, Bruce +2. That’s 20 more wins vs last year’s poor team. 90-72. Write it down now in Feb. That’s a WC team. If Nats slip and fall as they have done before, who knows…?

    • MattyMets
      February 6, 2018 at 9:34 am

      What he said.

      If the Mets are only going to sign one more cheap guy I’d love Liriano. A veteran lefty who can start or relieve. He’s also a good gamble as a bounce back candidate to work with our new pitching gurus.

    • John Fox
      February 6, 2018 at 11:09 am

      Edwin, concerning your preference for platooning Flores with Gonzalez:

      Flores slash line splits against righties: .262/.306/.459
      the left handed Gonzalez : .255/.299/.391
      stats from 2017

  3. alizarine
    February 6, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Yes! Free Wilmer. Give the guy a full time slot at a single position and we can finally see what he can do over a full season. Terry hurt Wilmer by jerking him around so much.

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

    • MattyMets
      February 6, 2018 at 9:40 am

      We all love Wilmer. I just wonder what his future is. He doesn’t have the feet to play SS or 2b, or the arm to play 3rd. He’s adequate at 1st. He has a good bat, but it’s not like he’s a potential .350 hitter like Greg Jeffries that we had to show horn in somewhere. Right now he still has a modest contract that lets us feel okay about using him as a platoon player/rotating backup/pinch hitter. He’s more valuable to us than other teams so he’s not much of a trade chip. As long as his salary stays reasonable I’d love to keep him around. Maybe we could lock him in with a modest contract like 3/12 before he ever hits free agency.

      • Chris F
        February 6, 2018 at 10:52 am

        Sorry Matt, not all. I think Flores is a major distraction on the team, who is so incomplete that his best position is DH. There are lots of plays 1B must make that he will botch. The faster he’s on an AL club the better.

  4. Name
    February 6, 2018 at 9:36 am

    It seems like UZR and DRS will never agree on Wilmer Flores.

    UZR/150 had Flores at +3.7 at 1b, DRS/year had him at -20
    UZR/150 had Flores at +2.5 at 2b, DRS/year had him at -12

    The only time DRS had Flores in the black was at 1b in 2016 in his 172 innings at 1b.
    UZR however gives him positive marks at 1b for 2016 and 2017, at 2b in 2014, 2015 and 2017, at ss in 2014, at 3b in 2013.

    After parts of 5 years UZR still think Flores is positive at 1b,2b and barely negative at ss for his career…

    And these differences affect WAR. Because of his defensive shortcomings, Flores has negative bWAR in 2013 and 2017 and never topped 1b bWAR in a season for a career total of 0.4 bWAR. He has a career 4.5 fWAR spearheaded by a 1.8 fWAR season and only one negative season.

    Believe UZR if you must, but i think most of the fanbase would agree with baseball ref’s thinking on this one.

  5. Eraff
    February 6, 2018 at 9:43 am

    The Mets have decided that Flores is not an Everyday Player, and not even a top Rotational Option. Every recent signing points to the view than He’s A Man Without A Glove….otherwise, why sign Frazier, Cabrera, Reyes, or Gonzo????…even Bruce may be in Flo’s path to ab’s.

    I like Wilmer…but He cannot do a thing that doesn’t involve him Holding a Bat. Once he leaves the Batter’s Box, he is a negative….unless he’s in a HR Trot.

    He’s a cheap RH Power Bat…and that doesn’t even have much currency as trade bait in today’s game.

    But, Yes…His only “Survivable Position” is First Base..Maybe.

    He is part of the Over-Loved Trinity here at 360— Lucroy… Guillorme…Wilmer

    • Chris F
      February 6, 2018 at 10:54 am

      Yep, well stated Eraff.

  6. Hunter
    February 6, 2018 at 10:28 am

    Very good hitter? Maybe so,maybe not, but a man with no position.. he might be a good trade chip to a AL team for a decent BP guy.

    • Mike Walczak
      February 6, 2018 at 12:05 pm

      I agree. Wilmer would be better in the AL. Yankees could use him.

  7. TexasGusCC
    February 6, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Flores has more upside and a better player at second base than Cabrera. Also, Flores grades better at 2B than Cabrera.

    I keep saying this: Turner, Murphy, Flores… all players that were not good enough here and just imperfect enough to be given away. Can anyone name a position player Alderson likes that hasn’t already established themselves somewhere else, other than d’Arneaud?

    • Chris F
      February 6, 2018 at 12:36 pm

      Conforto. Rosario. Plawecki.

      • TexasGusCC
        February 6, 2018 at 2:59 pm

        Conforto? The guy they wanted to send down last year if Cespedes and Duda were healthy to start the year? That same Conforto? The one they planned on sending to the bench but he hit too much? That one?

        Rosario? Why because there aren’t any other options and they have the #3 prospect in all MLB last year? Wow! What a limb they are going out on, huh?

        Plawecki? You mean the one that last season was doing great in Las Vegas but they wouldn’t bring up until August because they had this great veteran that wouldn’t even shift on balls in the dirt? Come on Chris.

        God’s truth Chris, my original comment said “Chris F and Alderson”, but I decided to be nice to a friend. But you wouldn’t let me, LOL.

        • Chris F
          February 6, 2018 at 5:58 pm

          Gus, you completely mistake Flores (in particular, but Nimmo and others) for a guy like Carlos Corea or Francisco Lindor, or Manny Machado. The Mets players are not anywhere near that. Period.

          Anyway, the notion of having a few ups and downs in transition to everyday assignments is common. They dont like Conforto, they love him. Your undying love for Flores is admirable. I dont see any of it personally.

          I was just thinking though, Flores would be pretty good *as* first base. Anchored to the ground.

          • TexasGusCC
            February 6, 2018 at 6:27 pm

            Oh come on…

            Love him? But, they planned on sending him down and then they planned on benching him! Wow, as the song says, “How can this be love?”

            That’s mean. I object!

            But seriously here… Chris, how do you explain the AGone signing when you have Flores already? Is it merely an impulse signing due to the cost, or do you think AGone in one year at this stage is a better bet than Flores right now?

  8. Eraff
    February 6, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    Gus…You’re In Love…I respect that

  9. Pete In Iowa
    February 6, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    I like Wilmer just as much as any other Met fan. But.
    The only place he can flourish is as a DH on an American League club. UZR, DRS? Please. The man has no instincts on defense, simply can’t throw and runs like Smokey Burgess. Don’t think a 1B needs to be able to throw? Ummm, Duda to D’Arnaud with Hosmer coming in from third. Period!
    We now have a much, much more capable RH defender at first (Frazier) and with Reynolds, Cheech, TJ and others in AAA, we have a glut of utility infielders. Now is the time to trade him. A LH reliever or innings-eating #5 starter would seem to be a reasonable return for him. And either would be of more value on our currently-constructed roster than Flo — 25 or 40 man.

  10. Eraff
    February 6, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    True Pete…and a team that wanted Flo for being Flo would be a great outcome for the kid

  11. Metsense
    February 6, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    The average NL first baseman had a .838 OPS in 2017 and Flores had a .790 OPS. That is below average and does not indicate a reason to believe that he would “flourish” as the every day first baseman. If he were to be platooned then his .862 OPS vs LHP would be above average.
    If the Mets were to play Flores as a second baseman then they would have an offensive position advantage. National League second baseman average 739 OPS and Flores is a 790 OPS and he doesn’t have a negative defensive UZR at second base. Second base is his best position on paper but obviously the Mets don’t agree. Wilmer as a platoon first baseman works in 2018.

  12. Eraff
    February 6, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    I believe his best Position is 1st Base….. he can also play as a “shifted SS”…decent Hands and Stone feet. The throws from SS are somewhat better for him because he is generally fielding the ball on an approach that is close to the direction of Most throws.

    Again, when he’s not holding a Bat he’s a big negative…whether fielding, or God Fobid Baserunning.

    Gus, the idea that they haven’t given him enough of a chance???? …they simply don’t need to see anymore.

    Look…I Love Plawecki, Gus…I understand.

  13. TJ
    February 6, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    We all know Wilmer very well, most of us appreciate that he is an easy guy to root for. Many of us disagree on what his true value is, and whether he is a quality every day player or not.

    My position is that really good teams tend to have really good depth, and some level of quality on the bench. Unless there is a team that will overpay, I see Wilmer as helping to provide quality depth – adequate backup coverage at several positions, and a power RH bat that beats up lefties either as a platoon player or pinch hitter. In this mutli-faceted role, he is well worth his paycheck, and he helps make the team better. Plus, my daughter has a bigger crush on him than Gus.

    • Mike Walczak
      February 6, 2018 at 5:48 pm

      Who wins a 40 yard dash ? Flores or Colon ?

    • TexasGusCC
      February 6, 2018 at 7:40 pm

      Wilmer and I have a lot in common:
      – We both dreamt of playing SS for the Mets when we were in our teens.
      – We are both unbelievably slow, yet athletic.
      – We both believe swinging the bat gives you a chance to do good, whereas looking for a walk with men in scoring position is anti-productive.
      – We both believe in fundamentals.
      – There is no prima donna in either one of us
      – We both have to earn everything everyday.

      I root for Wilmer hard, and he will be a very good player on a smart organization. He is a player that harder ever makes a mental mistake! However, on a team of snobs, he has no business. Let the snobs sign 36 year olds that have no future, like they signed 40 year olds that no other team will. Like they sign any washed up player before turning to their own system.

  14. Eraff
    February 7, 2018 at 8:06 am

    I’ve often referred to the Mets 360 2018 LoveList of Over-rated Players:
    Lucroy- Wilmer- Guillorme…. I need to ask about the Mysterious disappearance of Mr. Wuilmer “The Sidd Finch of Outfielders” Becerra, “The Fourth Horseman” of Mets360 Passion.

    Any update on him? Does he remain on a Top 50 list.

  15. Eraff
    February 7, 2018 at 8:12 am

    The “Never in Better Shape”, “Haven’t felt this good in Years” stories have begun!!!!

    The first two sightings were a quick piece on Syndergaard (about a week ago) and a piece on “Trim and Fit” Dom Smith (Today).

    Of special Note…. these are very Young Guys for stories of this Nature. I’d say Historically Young, bit I’m not a Total Stat Guy.

    Specifically on Smith, some Elias research should reveal that He is, in fact, The Youngest “Fit and Trim” story to have run in more than 2 Seasons.

    It’s Spring, Baby!!!!

  16. MattyMets
    February 7, 2018 at 8:19 am

    As fans our love of players goes beyond stats. Bryce Harper is a terrific player but a total jerk. I couldn’t root for him. Flores is a nice kid who came of age with this team, gives it his all, loves being here and won our hearts with his on field tears-walk off homer folklore story. Yes, he’s very easy to root for.

    I think he does bring value with a bat, but I don’t share that sentiment that he’ll leave and become the next Turner or Murphy ex-Met all-star. He’s never going to be a .350 OBP guy, let alone compete for a batting or home run title, even as a DH.

  17. Chris F
    February 13, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Read em and weep:


    Because the Mets will likely only carry four full-time outfielders on their Opening Day roster, they’re going to give Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores reps at the position this spring.

    + instincts
    + arm
    + speed

    How could we have missed Flores in the OF??????

    Move over Kyle Schwarber, you have a new friend in LF. Interestingly enough, even if they played LF *at the same time* I doubt they could get into positive defensive metrics land.

    • February 13, 2018 at 6:48 pm

      Callaway is on record that he doesn’t want to see guys standing around. Having Flores shag balls in the outfield seems like busy work to me.

  18. Eraff
    February 13, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    The Mets will carry 4…and Reyes can play as well… Flo in the OF????? Left Fiield against Lefties…Rf against Righties…. It could cause the first Delay of Game Penalty ever, just getting hin to run from one field to the other.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: