Wilmer Flores is an unstoppable force.
He did it again on Sunday, blasting another home run, scoring a pair of runs and driving in three.
He now has 18 RBI in his last ten games and six home runs in his last five games.
Since his demotion to Triple-A, Flores is batting .419 with a 1.352 OPS.
Wilmer Flores homered in both games of Saturday’s doubleheader, giving him five home runs and 12 RBIs in the last three days. The righthanded slugger has hit in ten straight games and is batting .409 in that span with a 1.266 OPS.
Since June 27, when Flores was demoted and Ruben Tejada became the everyday shortstop, he is batting .225 (7-for-31) with no extra-base hits and one RBI.
Tejada has had his chances.
Tasked with filling the big shoes left by Jose Reyes‘ departure for Miami in 2012, Tejada played well. But after a promising start to his career, he fizzled, posting a paltry .218 average with mediocre defense over the past two seasons.
Perhaps he has kept the job this long for the sole reason that we have no other options; there are no free agents currently floating around, and no teams have been rushing to deal their franchise shortstop.
But today, the situation at the 6-slot is entirely different. Following a monstrous season at Triple A in 2013 where he smacked 15 home runs with 86 RBI’s, Wilmer Flores, put himself on the map as a viable option to be the 2014 starter. However, the front office chose Tejada this Spring and opted to let Flores go back to Triple-A. Eventually he was called up a month later, but played sparingly, mostly relegated to pinch-hit duty. For two months, one of our best hitting prospects was being treated like a marginal bench player.
Developmentally, I cannot fathom how difficult this must be for Flores. For a promising young player to be called up and sent down repeatedly, it can’t be easy. Confidence is everything for them at this age.
Flores has to be given the opportunity to play, hit everyday, and then we can see what we truly have and if he’ll blossom. Making Flores the starter now is also supported by practical reasoning. For a team so desperate for run production, it would make sense to get as many potent bats into the lineup as you can.
I can’t comprehend the logic in starting Ruben Tejada, a defense first, light-hitting shortstop, when we have such a better option in Flores, who can flat out hit and has proven himself throughout all levels of the minors. He has nothing left to accomplish there.
So why keep him in Triple-A when he can help in Queens now?
For those of you who are critics, I understand that starting Flores would sacrifice a little infield defense for offense, but this is a trade-off the Mets must accept. The opportunity for more production in a currently weak lineup cannot be passed up.
Bottom line is, it’s not like 22-year old prospects with plus-hitting skills grow on trees. Flores has tremendous upside as a young hitter and plays at a premium position. Run him out there. Let him play everyday. And who knows, maybe we’ll ultimately find our shortstop of the future.
Read more at onthemets.com.