T.J. Rivera

Where’s Flores?

Given the Mets offseason moves and roster construction, a lot was going to be asked of Wilmer Flores. He had to be the main backup at all four infield positions. He had to learn first base. He had to be the power bat off the bench. He had to be a platoon option at second base in the event Neil Walker continued his career struggles against lefties. He had to be the Mets insurance for David Wright‘s back. 

So far this year, Flores is hitting .159/.229/.273 with an OPS+ of 36 and a wRC+ of 39.  His main issue is he can’t hit the fastball. Even worse, he’s not hitting breaking balls. Overall, he’s just not hitting. Put if this way: he has as many homeruns as Bartolo Colon

He’s also not fielding. According to UZR and DRS, he’s only played well at first and short. He’s struggling with his throws from second and third. He’s not good at the plate. He’s not good in the field. He’s a -0.4 WAR player thus far. He’s having a nightmare of a season. He’s failing miserably. 

Worse yet, the Mets need him. 

Wright’s stenosis isn’t going away. Walker hasn’t hit lefties his entire career. Neither has Lucas Duda. The Mets need Flores to play for one of them at least once a week. When he’s not starting, Flores is the Mets lone power bat on the bench. He’s an important player on the team. So far, he’s not up to the challenge. 

The only thing saving him is he has no options left. This means players like Matt Reynolds and T.J. Rivera will stay in the minors despite having earned a call-up. Instead, Eric Campbell, who is coming off a good game, may need to play more. Until Flores figures it out, Campbell may be the Mets best infield option. No one planned on that happening. 

No, the plan was for Flores to play an important role.  For now, Flores still has that role. However, if he continues playing this poorly that role is going to have to someone else. That switch may need to happen sooner rather than later.