Analyzing Wilmer Flores
First, we should address his performance this year. To be fair and objective, he hasn’t been good. His has a triple slash line of .249/.281/.378 with an OPS+ of 83. This is a fancy way of saying he hadn’t been hitting well. We could go into advanced statistics on Flores’ defense at SS, but it was a small sample size for statistics. What we saw on the field he was a fish out of water, who had trouble turning the double play. To be fair, he was better at second.
From what we’ve seen, Flores is a player who has been bad offensively and defensively. You may ask why should we care about someone who looks like a AAAA player right now. Well for starters, he’s a Met. You care about anyone they put in the field even if you love or hate that player. Also, he’s still only 23 years old with the ability to improve.
And he does look to improve as a player. Even though he was handed the SS position by the team, he sought ways to improve at the position (unlike some players). He has shown flashes of offensive potential. He’s hit 10 homeruns and has shown that he may have the clutch gene. Also, he cares and wants to be a New York Met.
We all saw it last night. He was crying while at his SS position. Despite being shaken up by the ordeal, he was a man and took questions at his locker. In the impromptu press conference, he described himself as being with the Mets forever. He effectively has been as he was signed as a 16 year old kid out of Venezuela.
Just think about that for a second. For those of us who went away to college, it was the first time we ever truly leave the house. You don’t see your mother and father everyday. You’re effectively on your own for the first time. Sure, you’re excited. Your whole life is in front of you. However, it’s also sad. When your parents go home, you won’t see them for a while. If anyone tells you they didn’t get the least bit emotional, they’re lying to you.
Flores left his home and his country when he was 16. He went to a country with a different culture and spoke a different language. I don’t care what anyone says. This takes courage. He showed character in making his way to the majors even if he wasn’t ready; especially so with how the Mets have jerked him around this year.
I dare say Wilmer Flores is a role model. He’s someone that works hard on his craft. He gave up a lot to pursue his dreams. He never publicly complained with how he’s been moved all over the infield in the two years he’s been in the majors. He cared enough about the team and his teammates that he was moved to tears at the prospect of leaving them all behind. In his most trying hour in the big leagues, he faced reporters and answered their questions.
I don’t know if Flores will ever hit enough to cover his defensive problems, but I do know he’ll do everything he can do to improve. Now that he hasn’t been traded, I hope he sticks around for a while (for right now that should be on the bench). If he moves on, I will applaud for him when he returns.
It’s possible that one day I will discuss this with my son as it’s a teachable moment. I’ll tell him to pursue his dreams. I’ll tell him he needs to work hard everyday to perfect his craft. I’ll tell him we’ll support him no matter where life takes him. I’ll tell him that even in the most trying of times, you have to be a man. That means meeting your responsibilities (for Flores it meant playing the field and answering reporter’s questions). It also means you can be moved to tears when it’s time to pick up and move away. I know I’ll be in tears when he does . . . thank God that’s a long time away.