WILMER FLORES, 1B, 2B, 3B
Player Data: Age 25, Bats Right, Throws: Right, Arbitration Eligible (1)
2016 Primary Stats: 103 G, 16 HR, 14 2B, 49 RBI, 267 AVG, .319 OBP, .469 SLG
WIIILLLLLMMMAAAAA! A big fan favorite, Wilmer Flores had his ups and downs in 2016, but mostly gave the Mets what they needed: A guy who could fill many roles and swing the bat.
Now, Wilmer got off to an absolutely terrible start, and was a complete non-factor in April and May. But when injuries piled up, and Flores started to get more playing time, he started to get it going. Wilmer hit .289 in June, .290 with 7 home runs in July, and .306 with five homers in August. In each of these months, Flores appeared in over 20 games and started between 16 and 22.
Flores, as the Mets quickly realized, was terrific against lefties, although he struggled against righties. Wilmer hit .340/.383/.710 against southpaws while struggling to a slash line of .232/.289/.353 against right-handed pitching. And as Wilmer went, so did the Mets. Flores hit .339 in wins and .180 in losses.
Meanwhile, his defense was tolerable. Not great, but tolerable. Flores slotted in at first, second, third and shortstop over the course of the year, and it was clear that he worked hard to learn as much as he could about each position. With injuries plaguing the team all year, Flores became very valuable as a guy who could slot in for whoever was hurt or needed a day off. And against lefties, he has become a bona-fide starter in his own right.
Unfortunately, Flores suffered an injury late in the season and missed the final stretch and the postseason. The Mets could have used his bat in some of their final games, and certainly against lefty Madison Bumgarner in the playoffs. Still, Wilmer certainly stepped up to the plate for this team and gave us what we needed from him.
With questions related to injury, performance and free agency hanging over the Mets, including the infielders, Flores has tremendous value to the team in 2017. He can form half of a platoon at first, second or third if a need arises due to injuries to David Wright or Lucas Duda, a trade of Duda, or either injury to or departure of Neil Walker. That being said, if the Mets end up needing to pencil Flores in as the starter at a position, they would do well to find a left-handed bat who can play that position as well.