Wilmer FloresWilmer Flores remains one of the Mets’ top 10 prospects.  He’s likely still, the team’s best hitting prospect in their entire minor leagues.  He’s playing this winter in the Venezuelan Winter League where he’s amassed some really promising stats:

  • AVG: .372
  • OBP: .451
  • SLG: .488
  • OPS: .939
  • In 43 ABs, he only has 4 Ks!

Winter league stats don’t mean a whole heck of a lot, but they serve to remind Met fans that they have a talented player in the wings.  It might also help to make people put less stock into his 27 game (partially injured) debut in the majors.

With the Mets less and less likely to trade Daniel Murphy and with David Wright entrenched at third base, the plan for Wilmer Flores seems to have become muddled.  The statistics say he can handle second base, but the team sees things they don’t like, and I can’t argue that he wouldn’t be a defensive liability.  So… first?

The Mets are trying, desperately, to trade Ike Davis and/or Lucas Duda.  They’d like to have Josh Satin on the team either way but they clearly aren’t particularly pleased with Davis or Duda as starting options.  Dominic Smith is a few seasons away… so… maybe Flores gets a shot?

Not so fast, there are some obstacles in the way.

1)      Wilmer Flores has never played first base for a significant period of time to learn the position.

2)      Putting him in AAA blocks (again) the progress of a certain AA MVP, Allan Dykstra.

3)      Having him at third or second base increases his trade value.

4)      He doesn’t (yet) have the power of your typical first baseman.

These are four real problems, but they are nothing compared to the problems of when people say, “Why don’t we put him in the outfield?”  These people don’t have a firm grasp on the needed assets of a major league outfielder, namely having some modicum of range.  The final option would be to trade him, but I don’t think he has much more market than Murphy despite his youth and talent.

Where would you put Wilmer Flores to start 2014?


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23 comments on “What is the plan for Wilmer Flores?

  • NJTom

    Call me crazy, but has anyone even *considered* the concept of moving David Wright to 1B, and then letting this kid Flores hit a ton at 3B? I know it is blasphemy suggesting the anointed one move over for a rookie. But if he is that good a hitter and the other options at 1B are not so hot, maybe someone getting paid the big bucks should at least consider it?

    • David Groveman

      Not the first time it’s been mentioned.

      Flores isn’t as good defensively at third as Wright.

      What has also been mentioned is moving Wright to the outfield and putting Flores at third. The answer is that Wright is your star and you don’t mess with a proven thing.

      To this you can point to Detroit moving Miguel Cabrera to third for Prince Fielder.

    • Eraff

      Why would you move Wright?… you have the same two bats in the lineup, so you may as well play flores at 1b….in that scenario

  • Brian Joura

    I put Flores in Triple-A at 2B.

    • David Groveman

      Boring but, ultimately, the most likely destination.

  • Name

    Like den Dekker, Flores has pretty much been forgotten this offseason. Most people are talking about EY to 2nd if Murphy is traded. It looks like the plan for both players is wait-and-see what happens in Spring Training.

    • David Groveman

      Eric Young Jr. is a better candidate for the bench. Had Murphy been traded it would have been a “wait-and-see” if Flores is ready for second.

      Den Dekker will be platooning with Lagares before long.

  • Rob Rogan

    I’d be willing to try him at first. I don’t think point number 4 is as valid as it used to be. As we exit the steroid era, it seems that the typical first basemen has power but is not (typically) a monster like we saw a during that time.

    For instance, a cursory look shows that only 8 first basemen had 25 or more homers in 2013. 8 of the 10 2013 playoff/WC teams had first basemen who didn’t crack that mark. I think Flores could have the potential to hit 25 homers at his peak. More than half of the first basemen had an ISO in 2013 in line with what Flores has shown the last two seasons in the minors.

    Not saying power in a 1B isn’t important, but I think we may need to start adjusting our idea of what your typical 1B is these days. Point number 1 is a biggie, though. Point 3, fair enough. Point number 2 should not be an obstacle.

  • Jerry Grote

    Flores … well, I’d love to look back at this time and wonder why we all couldn’t see that he was going to become the right handed platoon for Duda. I have a hard time getting my arms around that ISO during his 27 games on top of a doubling of his K rate.

    He needs to double his iso power and halve his K rates to overcome his lead feet. That’s a pretty big calling.

    My recollection of him in games was that he freaked out a bit. I don’t know if it was the size of the stadium or the fact that he was a major leaguer.

  • Sean Flattery

    Its a great question. Flores’ role this year will be something to keep an eye on. I’m sure their will an injury down the road and will see him sooner than later. I agree with Brian tho, starts the season at 2b in minors.

  • Metsense

    To answer the question, barring a trade of Murphy, second base at AAA.
    DePodesta has said he would prefer a prospect to ” force ” his way onto the team.
    Murphy is a free agent in 2016 and therefore his highest value for other teams is between now and spring training 2015. Sandy has been trying to move Murphy all winter and should continue to do so because of Flores ( not EY). Flores OPS at AA at age 20 (.827) and at AAA at 21 (887) indicate to me a player with a higher ceiling than Murphy. Murphy put up a .768 OPS at age 22. Sometime in the next year, Murphy will be traded and Flores will take his spot, all part of the evolution of a solid franchise.

  • Scott Ferguson

    He’ll most likely start at AAA and they’ll move him around between first, second and third.
    If Murph is traded, I could see Flores making the team and playing first and second fairly regularly.

  • pete

    Unless the Mets put a package deal for a left fielder of Davis/Duda,Murphy and ? Flores should be in AAA playing second base every day and not wasting away on the bench.
    Scott if Flores has no experience at first base it will just put more pressure on him.Definitely something he does not need to have at this early stage of his professional career.

  • tommyb

    Wilmer will hit for power – just tons of doubles and fewer HRs…doubles in my book are still power hits. If he could play SS for years in minors (even if with limited range) he can play 1B just fine. I am sure they are considering him for there, if not at the start of 2014, then as time unfolds. And he does not K much, a great contrast to so many other players today.

  • Metstheory22

    To bad he is not an outfilder. Would have been perfect to put thim in left. Otherwise if Ike gets traded, I would put him at 1st. I think he can drive in runs without all the HRs, like Allan Craig.

  • pete

    Wilmer Flores has never played first base. But you want him to learn a difficult position knowing that he’s playing winter ball in his usual defensive position. Don’t you think if the Mets had some plans to move Flores to first base they would have told him to play the position in the off season. Not asking for much.

    • Metstheory22

      You are right, 1st base is difficult. Not as difficult as trying to learn 2nd base. Maybe they don’t have a plan to put him there at this time since we still have Ike and Duda. But I said “If they trade Ike” not put him at 1st incase they trade Ike. Murphy also “moved” to first a few seasons ago if you remember. As I am comparing him to Allan Craig, Craig plays 1st, 3rd and LF.

  • pete

    One slight difference. Craig know how to play the 3 positions. My point was that if the Mets had intended to play Flores at first base, they would have instructed him to do it in winter ball.

  • JS1056

    I have seen Flores play at Savannah (i think he was 17 then) and then with Binghamton. The first thing you noticed about him is that he can flat out hit. The second thing was that he was an even better hitter in his second and third at bat after he had seen the pitcher already in the game. And he doesn’t strike out.
    While he was still a teenager I saw him hit two shots in the power alley at Greyson for doubles that were home runs in most other ballparks. Since that time he has filled out to the point that he had to move from shortstop where he played the first few years. While I think he will probably be a 18 to 25 homer a year guy, I think that the probability of surprise is to the upside since he is still getting stronger and he puts the ball in play.
    As for a position, he has very little range but he does have soft hands. That was never his issue when he played SS. I think he would always be below average at 2nd base but the question is how far below average. I still think first base is his ultimate landing place. As I noted I think he has the hands to play the position and while he will never be Keith Hernandez I don’t think he will be Dave Kingman either.
    I think you have to start him at first in LV while we see what happens to the Duda/Davis/Satin platoon. I don’t worry about blocking Dykstra. He is a AAAA player and his development shouldn’t be a consideration.
    I don’t think you look to trade a 22 year old kid who can hit. The team needs a first baseman desperately. By some time at the beginning of the year to give him some reps at 1B at see what the platoon does. If it flops you bring Flores up in May. If it succeeds you can deal from strength by moving either Flores or Duda.

  • Eric Kench

    I say we just try him out at shortstop and see how he does. Exhibition games don’t mean much.

  • pete

    While the idea seems intriguing to some Met 360 subscibers if the team had any notion that this was a good idea they would’ve asked him to do while playing winter ball

  • Eric Kench

    I think we should just cut the crap and try him out at shortstop. We have a situation where shortstop is a big question mark going into spring training. So we might as well as look at all the options.

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