At just 23 years old, it’s hard to imagine giving up on a highly regarded prospect. Still, I believe the time has come for the Mets to move on from Wilmer Flores.
Signed at the ripe old age of 16, Flores has progressed slowly through the Mets farm system, racking up almost 3,000 minor league at bats. Over that time, he’s hit .292 with 77 home runs and 869 hits and slashed at a .292/.334/.440 clip. Unfortunately, it’s starting to feel like those numbers will never be matched in the major leagues. In his limited stint in the majors, Flores is hitting .221/.255/.294 through 73 games over the past two seasons.
I’m not ready to let Flores walk away solely based on numbers. While there are many who rely predominantly on stats, I believe that a balance must exist between the eye test and statistics. The eye test is what is really troubling. Flores looks overmatched in almost every single at bat and it doesn’t seem like he’s evolved in the time we’ve seen him.
There was a specific at-bat against Scott Kazmir on Tuesday in which Flores was swinging for the fences with two strikes. It was the top of the 4th and earlier in the inning, Travis d’Arnaud had a big home run. Seeing that, you could almost tell that Flores was trying to do the same thing. In the Mets booth, Kevin Burkhardt commented that it was a huge swing. What they failed to harp on was the situation. With two strikes, smart hitters don’t try to hit home runs. Flores was demonstrating a lack of baseball smarts.
Some will say that he’s only 23. But the Mets are close to contending. While they might not be there this year, Flores doesn’t seem like he fits into the future. He’s been in the organization for a long time and doesn’t seem to have a position. He came up as a shortstop before moving to third base and eventually second. He played every infield position at some point in his minor league career and didn’t dazzle at any of them. If he’s going to be an average (or below average) fielder, he simply must hit. He hasn’t and that’s the problem.
So what do you do with Flores? My solution is to include him in a trade in the offseason. It lets him get a fresh start with another organization and while he hasn’t been great, there’s still a chance that he can make something of his career. I just don’t believe the Mets are the team he’ll do it with and for that reason it’s time to move on.