WILMER FLORES, INF
Player Data: Age: 26, B/T: R/R, Free Agency: 2020
2017 Primary Stats: .271/.301/.488, 17 2B, 3B, 18 HR, 52 RBI, -0.2 bWAR, 106 wRC+
2018 Salary: $3.7 million (projected arbitration)
After this season, it is safe to say we know what Wilmer Flores is as a baseball player. Once again, Flores showed he is best served as a platoon bat to face left-handed pitching despite showing improvement against right-handed pitching. He’s also a guy that really doesn’t have a position on the field.
Quite remarkably, Flores posted a negative DRS at all four infield positions this season: 1B (-3), 2B (-1), 3B (-8), and SS (-2). This should come as no surprise as he is a negative DRS player at all four positions for his career. As we have seen with Flores, he proved this season he does not belong on the left side of the infield. On the right side, he has shown he can be serviceable there, especially if he can hit.
Again, Flores hit well against left-handed pitching with a 119 wRC+ against them. However, this was a drop from the 192 wRC+ he had against them last year. Fortunately, that coincided with Flores going from a 75 to a 101 wRC+ hitter against right-handed pitching.
Flores’ improvement against right-handed pitching gave you hope he could emerge as an everyday player. His stretches in May (.379/.406/.500) and July (.313/.358/.604) also gave that hope. Certainly during those stretches, you could envision him as an everyday second baseman.
However, Flores wasn’t that player. Just as he’s been in most of his career, Flores is a streaky hitter, and he is a bit injury prone. For the second straight season, Flores landed on the disabled list with leg issues. Also for the second straight year, he had a bit of a freak injury that prevented him from finishing the season with the team.
Did You Know:
Flores set career highs in triples, homers, stolen bases, batting average, slugging, OPS, and sacrifice flies. This partially coincides with Flores increasing his fly ball rate this season and repeating his 13.6% HR/FB ratio from the 2016 season.
How Flores is utilized in 2018 largely depends on the Mets offseason. That includes who the Mets sign to play second and third as well as who they hire as the manager. It will also depend on how well Dominic Smith hits against left-handed pitching. To that end, Flores could be used anywhere from an everyday second baseman, a platoon partner with Smith or a super utility player.