Baseballs ask permission to be excused when they’re next in line to be pitched to Wilmer Flores.
Flores is hitting .385/.405/.603 over the last 30 days, having gone 30-for-78. Among players with at least 75 at-bats during that span, only Charlie Blackmon‘s .392 average (44-for-112) is a better mark. His overall .326 average would be tied for 10th in majors if he qualified, but doesn’t yet have enough at bats. This is all great, but the best thing is the timing.
With Jose Reyes still playing abysmally, batting .186 on the season, the Mets needed a third baseman. He has stepped up and stepped up big. Of course, Terry Collins is still finding ways to play Reyes who started three of the four games in Atlanta, but the numbers don’t lie. Wilmer should be the starting third baseman now and, perhaps, in the future.
The biggest concern offensively with Wilmer, similar to Juan Lagares, has been his ability to hit right handed pitching. That should no longer be a concern as Flores has hit .298/.327/.462 in 104 at-bats against right-handed pitching this season. He is, of course, humiliating left-handers still with a .412/.417/.647 slash line in 34 at-bats, but that was never the issue.
The other concern regarding Flores is his defense. While he has shown an ability to play any and all infield positions, his best seems to be third base due to his limited range and inaccurate but strong arm. He is, however, a better defensive third baseman than Jose Reyes. Even if they were comparable defensively, or if Reyes were better, Flores should be starting every day due to his bat.
Flores has always hit. Now that he is hitting right-handers almost as well as southpaws, there is no reason not to start him at third base every day. His starting gives the Mets the best chance to win, regardless if there’s a righty or lefty on the hill.