Yesterday marked the first start for Flores at short since the 2011 season. The Mets have moved the 22-year old all over the infield over the past two years in an effort to find him a position.
Collins also stated that Ruben Tejada, who is slated to be the everyday shortstop in 2014, will start at short for the next two Grapefruit League games says Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
Anthony DiComo of MLB.com says it best in his article regarding Flores playing short:
“For now, consider this an experiment and nothing more. By giving Flores significant innings at shortstop, the Mets are overturning every stone on their 40-man roster. Multiple front-office members — not to mention an even larger contingent of scouts — do not seriously believe that Flores is athletic enough to handle one of the game’s most difficult defensive positions. But Collins in particular is curious about Flores given the work he did this winter during two stints at a fitness camp near Ann Arbor, Mich.”
The Mets have been connected to the Mariners’ Nick Franklin in recent weeks, and to a lesser extent the Diamondbacks’ Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings. Both teams are seeking a significant haul of prospects in return.
In 453 minor league games at the shortstop position, Flores committed 80 errors, amounting to a .959 fielding percentage.
If the Mariners are seeking a Rafael Montero-type prospect for Nick Franklin, and they are; I would consider Flores at shortstop too if I were the Mets. Flores has almost double the number of games played at the position compared to Franklin, who also sports a lower fielding percentage (.943) than Flores. If the Mets decide they drastically need offensive production and are willing to sacrifice defense at short, then the in-house option in Flores would be worth a look.
That said, I cannot foresee Flores getting the nod as the everyday shortstop over Tejada. Flores has amazing bat potential, he has told me he believes he can be a 20-home run hitter and I believe he has that potential as well. I just don’t see him putting it all together defensively in the next 20 days to make the Mets feel comfortable giving him regular reps at short.
Not to mention, many forget that Flores regressed offensively in the minors when playing shortstop, and it wasn’t until his move to third/second that he began to find his hitting stride.
A utility role seems to be the most promising option for Flores to have a shot at breaking camp with the team.
(Photo by Anthony J. Causi)