MMO Mailbag: Can Wilmer Flores Be A Fit In The Outfield?

Nikki asks…

I have a question that hopefully you guys can answer. Has there been any consideration to playing Wilmer Flores in the outfield? He seems to be the only righthanded hitter in the upper minors that seems to have any upside, and the Mets also seem to be in much better shape in the infield than they are in the outfield in both the majors and minors. I haven’t heard any talk about him playing the outfield, but he has been moved all around the infield, and from all accounts, hasn’t been stellar at any of those positions despite having a pretty strong arm. I just think it would be prudent to start playing him in left field at the very least, I don’t think he can be any worse than Duda in the field, I just think it would make a lot of sense, but wanted to know what you thought about it?

Sean replies…

Wilmer Flores is the most well-rounded hitter in the Mets system, and the closest to the majors with the potential held in his bat. 2012 saw Flores play first, second and third finally ending the experiment that saw him still playing at shortstop. Flores in the outfield is an interesting idea and has been debated almost as hotly as trying Flores at catcher among bloggers.

Flores had his best professional season last year, hitting 30 doubles and 18 homers across two levels. If those stats were to remain as is, from an offensive standpoint Flores wouldn’t fit a prototypical LF mold. However, he just turned 21 and is still growing and learning to tap into his power. With an uptick in his numbers, it could make some sense.

Defensively, Flores has been getting a crash-course at every infield position. It seems as if the Mets are trying to eliminate positions Flores cannot play systematically and so far he’s only washed out of shortstop. With David Wright desiring to be retained and Ike Davis at first, Flores’ path to the majors defensively is in the outfield or at second base. Flores isn’t the fastest player nor the most agile and has never played the outfield professionally. It still remains a question if he possesses the athleticism to play in the outfield at all.

It is an interesting thought, but I think this organization will play Flores at a position that is open, and seeing him steal at-bats from everyone would not be a surprise, possibly platooning with Ike at first and Murphy at second. If Flores is MLB ready he should be playing daily, and if that means taking some reps in the outfield, I am all for it. But a full-scale conversion from IF to OF? I’d hold off on that.