This year saw the continued decline of once promising young talents such as Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada, allowing for a slew of fresh prospects to enter the mix at the major-league level. Terry Collins best described it in his pre-game press conference in that we “got to see the pieces” that will soon make this team competitive as well as what Collins also describes as “fun” come 2014.
Headlining that crop was Wilmer Flores, who since 2007 at the tender age of 16 has diligently worked his way through the Amazin’s system, finally arriving in Flushing in early August.
His rookie campaign had it’s ups and downs, however while speaking with Flores prior to the Mets season finale against the Brewers, the Venezuelan-native said he was content with his year as a whole because he knows he tried his hardest, however hopes to work this offseason towards improving in 2014.
“I feel really satisfied with myself because I know I did my best,” said Flores on his rookie season in which he batted .211/.248/.295 at the major-league level and .321/.357/.542 in Las Vegas. “I know I could have done better up here, but things happen. You just got to keep working and get ready for next season.”
On the defensive side of diamond, Flores played primarily second base in Triple-A, however moved over to third when he was promoted to replace the injured captain David Wright. Flores says he is most comfortable at second, however is open to playing wherever the Mets need him.
“I played a lot of second base at Triple-A, and I feel very comfortable at second base.
“I am just going to play anywhere they want me to,” said Flores when asked if he is open to playing first base.
Flores started out performing well in his first week in the big leagues, however a nagging ankle injury continued from mid-August through much of the rest of the season, an ailment that he says affected his ability to stay in a rhythm
“I had my tempo going and then I got hurt,” said Flores of his injury that originally occurred against the Dodgers on August 14th. “You know things happen, its going to happen. I just have to get some rest and let it heal and just keep working.”
In his effort to ‘just keep working’, Flores has made a point to work on improving his selectivity and discipline at the plate.
“I just need to work on getting a good pitch to hit,” said Flores. “And try not to swing on too many pitches out of the strike zone.
Other than that, Flores says his primary goal this winter is to improve his speed.
“Try to get quicker,” said Flores when I asked what he intends to focus on during the offseason. “That’s what I’m trying to do.”
In another interview I conducted with Met-legend Edgardo Alfonzo, the former All-Star stated that he believes Flores is very talented, and when he attains more confidence in the big leagues, will be set. Flores says he believes he has gained a certain measure of confidence at the major-league level, however makes sure he does not get too comfortable.
“Yeah I think I have a little more confidence,” said Flores. “But still; it’s the big leagues. You don’t get too comfortable like that. But I think as time goes you get a little more comfortable.”
Getting comfortable in the big leagues is somewhat easier when you have veterans to look up to. Flores, as one of the younger players on the team, says he takes after a number of the Mets veteran talents.
“On this team, I look at all the players,” said Flores when asked if he has anyone who he looks up to or is mentored by on the team. “The veteran players like David [Wright], and Murphy. I just like the way they work, I like the way they go about their business.”
Flores will look to earn himself a significant role on the roster in what will surely be an interesting competition on the right side of the infield come Spring Training 2014.