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Good Luck Wilmer Flores

Back in 2015, Wilmer Flores was in tears as he believed he was going to be an ex-Met, he cried on the field. Given his age, how he grew up in the Mets organization, and how he found out about the trade, you could understand why Flores was so emotion. What you cannot understand is how he was so unceremoniously non-tendered.

For all of his faults, Flores was a Met, and he was an improving player. As a player who began to find a role as a platoon player who could hit left-handed pitching, he learned how to hit righties. With there being an increased emphasis on putting the ball in play, Flores has always had a good strikeout rate. He has also shown improved plate discipline. More than any of that, Flores was a player with a sense of the moment as evidenced by his being the Mets all-time leader in walk-off hits. None were better than that fateful July night:

With Flores, most of his faults have been over-analyzed and stated. Yes, we know he is not a good defender anywhere but first base. However, this was a player who was willing to do whatever was asked of him. He played shortstop when everyone but the Mets knew he was ill-equipped to handle the position. He moved all around the diamond, and he accepted whatever role was given him. He was someone who loved being a Met, and the fans loved him for it.

Oddly enough, the reports of his demise may have also been premature. While one of the purported justifications for non-tendering him was his arthritis, there is a chance that was a misdiagnosis. Even if it wasn’t, this was a guy who played first base all summer, and he played well. From June 21st until August 23rd, the game before Jay Bruce came off the disabled list, Flores hit .293/.337/.471.

Over that stretch, Flores’ 118 wRC+ was sixth best among first basemen, who had at least 200 plate appearances. Essentially, he was the seventh best everyday first baseman. That level of production is not easily replaceable. That was made further evident by the Mets trading three good prospects in Ross Adolph, Scott Manea, and Luis Santana to get a worse hitting version of Flores in J.D. Davis.

As an aside, Flores was also great with the fans. He was always one of the last players leaving the field before a game. He was out taking pictures and signing autographs for the fans. The fans loved him, and he loved the fans. When you lose someone like Flores, you lose that connection fans have with a player and a team.

When you look at Flores, you saw a player who loved everything about being a Met. He was a someone who was willing to do whatever was asked. He had a sense for the big moment. He was a fan favorite. He’s also now entering the prime of his career, and he is going to a good hitter’s park in Arizona where he should hopefully have a lot of success.

In an odd sense, you cannot tell the history of the Mets without mentioning Flores. This tells you just how much of an impact he had during his time with the Mets. For that, and for who he was, Mets fans everywhere should wish him well.

Good luck Wilmer Flores.

 

8 thoughts on “Good Luck Wilmer Flores”

  1. OldBackstop says:

    Was a Met at 16. By an at bat measure, I believe he had the most walkoff hits in history. Possibly behind Minnie Minoso.

  2. LongTimeFan1 says:

    We love Flores and will miss his clutch hitting and bleed orange and blue, but it was time to part ways in favor of better, more athletic part time players Mets can also control longer.

    Insofar as J.D., Davis, I think it’s way premature to stipulate Flores is better. Davis is younger, more versatile, able to play the outfield, has very strong arm and seems to be a better overall defender.

    He’s also had better minor league career, 884 OPS, .292 B.A. vs. Wilmer’s .778 OPS, .293 B.A.. with significantly more power and better speed.

    The only thing J.D. Davis thus lacks is more big league opportunity. The new Mets front office parted ways with Flores because they felt they could get batter value at a better price for a right hand bench/platoon/potential starter if needed.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Davis is younger and more athletic,

    2. metsdaddy says:

      Davis is just two years younger, and while he is more athletic, he really can’t play the OF. Also, he’s hitting well in a hitter’s league.

      The Mets decision to part with Flores will not prove to be a wise one.

  3. LongTimeFan1 says:

    Metsdaddy – you can’t rewrite Davis history and claim he doesn’t play outfield.

    How well may be up for debate, but he’s played some outfield in the majors (5 games, 3 starts) and minors (31, 25). With the Astros, he made a heck of a throw from the warning track, on line, and a seed to nab Mitch Moreland at second. You can view that video on MLB.com. The guy has a 65/80 arm and Brodie Van Wagenen views him as corner option.

    “J.D. is a versatile offensive talent,” Van Wagenen said in a statement. “He’s young, had success vs. lefties and he’ll provide depth at the corner positions.”

    https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mets/ny-sports-mets-trade-jddavis-astros-20190106-story.html

    He was also a Brodie target for trade since he was hired.

    Davis also put up better numbers than Flores in the minors, has more power, and I’ll remind you that Wilmer’s AAA experience was in PCL – 163 games vs. Davis’s 101.
    ,
    Because of Flores’s athletic limitations and deficiencies, I don’t see the Mets regretting Flores non-tender no matter how he hits for the rest of his career. He no longer fits what the Mets are trying to do. The guy is a defensive liability, has very slow foot speed – 25. 7 ft per second, has big league .303 OBP in 2,011 PA’s and 0.9 career WAR.

    I’ll miss Flores because of his clutch bat and humble, love of Mets nature, but I won’t be missing his liabilities which hurt the team.

    I think Mets fan will take well to JD Davis who is a blue collar player, a grinder, was an Astros MLB Pipeline #9 prospect in 2017, plays very hard and feels he should have a dirty uniform every game. He’s hit his whole minor league career (.292 .362 .521 .884 in 2,485 PA’s) including a 2018 PCL batting title and 105 minor league homers. I expect him to settle down in the majors and provide value whether off the bench, platoon, infield/outfield utility, or as starting first or third baseman.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Let’s put BVW hyperbole aside. Davis is too slow to play the OF. His spring speed is the same as Dom’s, who everyone agrees should not be playing OF.

      https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/sprint_speed_leaderboard?year=2018&position=&team=HOU&min=10

      https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/sprint_speed_leaderboard?year=2018&position=&team=NYM&min=10

      As for the minor league numbers, Flores was five years younger than Davis when he put up his numbers. Also, while Davis was showing he was not yet able to hit MLB pitching, Flores had the seventh best wRC+ among MLB first basemen this summer.

      I’d also note there’s a reason the Astros were more than willing to move him despite holes at first, LF, and DH.

      1. LongTimeFan1 says:

        Davis isn’t too slow for an outfield corner at 26.4 feet per second. That’s slightly below MLB average foot speed of 27.0.

        That’s adequate for a corner, especially for infield-outfield utility player. 26.4 feet per second is basically the same speed as Kyle Tucker, Nick Markakis, Marwin Gonzalez, Joc Pederson.

        Faster than Matt Kemp, Jon Jay, Michael Brantley, Kole Calhoun, Melky Cabrera, Jay Bruce and others.

        There’s a reason why Richard Justice likes JD Davis.

        There’s a reason why Brodie chose Davis, Lowrie and Cano over Flores. And traded 3 prospects for Davis.

        They’re all better fits for what Mets seek in improving the team.

        I understand you like Flores and will miss him,, but don’t let that blind you to Davis’s upside and potential. The guy is a grinder, blue collar player with 25-30 homer power potential, with a 65/80 arm who hit his entire minor league career and could potentially be heir to third base. He has a good chance to make the opening day roster or be one of the first call ups.

        More importantly, he’s a Met now and Flores no longer is. You are going to root for him, aren’t you?

        1. metsdaddy says:

          It’s not slightly below average. It’s slow, and it’s too slow for the outfield.

          Moreover, I’m not going to let his uniform dictate my analysis. That’s what a shill does, and I’m not a shill.

          I’ll root for him whenever he plays, but I’m not going to pretend he’s a good player just because a writer in Houston thinks so.

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