Flores Working Hard To Prove Doubters Wrong On Defense

wilmer flores ready

So in yesterday’s MiLB Report, Adam Rubin noted that Wilmer Flores would miss the Triple-A All-Star game with an ankle injury — but the injury itself is considered to be minor. It’s bad timing for Flores, but his longterm health is more important than one exhibition game. One of the things that might have went by the boards in the report, however, was this…

After primarily playing second base with the 51s this season, four of Flores’ past seven starts in the field have come at first base. Terry Collins said he was not aware of any organizational directive to use Flores at first base, but added it makes sense since it is unlikely Daniel Murphy will be dislodged from second base at the major league level anytime soon.

Mets insiders have been highly critical of Flores’ range at second base and note he has difficulty getting back to his feet after diving. But Las Vegas observers do say Flores has worked hard and has shown at least moderately improved range as the season has progressed.

Well, this is interesting. I was very critical of Murphy’s defense when he was first slotted in at second base — and yet he’s improved to become an average second baseman, who flashes the leather with some above-average plays at times. There’s no question about Flores’ offensive talent, but rather only about what position he will play. If Murphy won’ be “dislodged” from second any time soon, it means the organization is losing faith in Ike Davis and has little faith in Josh Satin to move Flores to first. This is not a big shocker at this point, as Flores demonstrates higher offensive potential than Satin and Ike has been heavily slumping all year.

I will say that I believe this Flores saga will lead to a trade somehow. If Flores is called up to play first base alone and succeeds, we might see the Mets use him as a trade chip — while they could also dangle Murphy in a trade and slot Flores in at second. My colleague Teddy K. suggested that the Mets go after Alex Rios, which I think is a solid idea.

I guess it’s just food for thought this morning…

Thoughts From Joe D.

I spoke to a scout who has watched Flores extensively since he arrived to Binghamton last season. Last month he told me and I reported here on MMO, that these claims he can’t play second base adequately are unfounded and overrated.

He said, “aside from some limitation on range which continues to improve, he does everything you want defensively at second base.”

Three weeks ago, Sandy Alderson said pretty much the same thing. “He has soft hands, a strong arm and he can turn the double play. His range is no worse than Daniel Murphy‘s who we are quite happy with defensively.”

I’m tired of hearing non-baseball people knock Flores for his defense when the baseball people say the exact opposite.

Flores, 21, may go down as the number one offensive player this team has developed since David Wright and Jose Reyes when all is said and done.

And just like Miguel Cabrera at third base, nobody will be complaining about his defense anymore when he finally gets here and establishes himself. And you could say you heard it here first two years ago.

Wilmer Flores