New York Mets Are Reaping Benefits Of Being Patient With Wilmer Flores


Many people were clamoring for the New York Mets to make a change at shortstop, relieving Wilmer Flores of his starting responsibilities. It is a good thing that they didn’t listen to those people, as the patience the Mets have shown with Flores are paying off nicely now.

The New York Mets have been ravaged by injuries this season. It has forced them into some tough situations when making lineups, playing some players they would rather use as a part time player. One person some fans were getting restless with was shortstop Wilmer Flores. Everyone knew that his fielding would be suspect at times, but thought that his hitting would offset that. That hadn’t been happening, and fans wanted to see Flores replaced by anyone at shortstop. The Mets didn’t overreact to a slow start from Flores, instead sticking with him and now are being rewarded for not jumping the gun.

For starters, the Mets always knew that Flores would have an iffy glove at shortstop. He would be able to get to the ball hit to him, but his range was expected to be limited. That reared it’s ugly head early on, as Flores committed errors in bunches. His problem wasn’t getting to the ball, but instead throwing it. He has a hitch in his throw, double tapping the ball in his glove before firing it over. That causes him to rush as the base runner bears down on first base, and caused him to be erratic when throwing over to first base.

That caused Flores to commit nine errors through the first five weeks of the season, a number which would become troubling if he continued on that pace. But, the Mets didn’t panic, in part because they had no replacements but also because they still believed in their young shortstop. He has made good on the Mets betting on him, as he has now gone 12 straight games without committing an error.

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He still is tied for the fourth most errors by a shortstop in the majors, but the improvement that he has shown over the last two weeks is very encouraging. Somewhat surprisingly, he also has a positive defensive war rating at 0.3. So while he is not lighting the world on fire defensively, he at least is not immensely hurting the Mets with his fielding either.

At the plate is where Flores was supposed to make his worth with the Mets. While his numbers overall aren’t very strong, he has provided the Mets with timely hitting when they needed it most. He has a penchant for delivering clutch hits. During the Mets lengthy winning streak in April, Flores won them arguably at least three games by himself, delivering the game’s difference in his RBI totals.

Once again Flores was at it this past week, as he came through when the Mets needed him most. The Mets have been struggling recently, as their division rival Washington Nationals have been surging while they have been lagging behind. They are coming off a sweep at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates from the weekend, and couldn’t afford to put up a clunker against the Phillies, who have been playing better baseball of late.

Flores has made sure he is not responsible for an extended losing streak, as he did all he could at the plate to get the Mets victories. On Monday against the Phillies, Flores provided the decisive and game-winning three-run home run in the sixth inning to end the Mets losing streak. He kept the winning ways going Tuesday night, as he knocked in half of the Mets runs.

After blowing a 3-0 lead in the eighth inning, Flores provided a sac fly to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth. He then came up again in the 10th inning and provided the game-winner once again with a walk-off single. Two games this week, two game-winners by Flores as he continues to provide timely hitting for the Mets when they need it most.

May 26, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores (4) has Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Ben Revere (2) out at second as he completes the double play during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

He has also given the Mets something other teams just do not have, and that is power and run production from the shortstop position. He is tied for first in the majors among shortstops, and leads the Mets, with seven home runs, and has the fourth most RBI at 21 for the position. The 21 RBI are tied for second most on the team with Lucas Duda, and trial only the 24 Daniel Murphy has provided.

The reason Flores’ amount may be the most impressive though is that he has done it mostly from the bottom third of the order, while Duda and Murphy are entrenched in run producing spots in the lineup; 121 of Flores’ 142 at-bats have come from the sixth spot or lower in the lineup, while Duda and Murphy have made only four at-bats combined that low in the lineup this season.

The man many Mets fans wanted to trade for to replace Flores in Troy Tulowitzki, is trailing him in both stats thus far despite more at-bats and playing half his games in the friendly confines of Coors Field. Some of the other players mentioned as possibilities for the Mets to get this past offseason to play shortstop, including Ian Desmond, Alexei Ramirez and Asdrubal Cabrera, are also not producing as well as Flores is at the plate. Desmond isn’t even fielding as well as Flores, as he has completely nosedived this season in production, as he has even committed 12 errors.

So while Flores numbers might not jump out at you, as he has nine errors and is slashing only .252/.284./.429, he is providing the Mets with enough to warrant the starting position the Mets gave him. The timely hits he has provided are more than enough, and as he continues to improve the Mets will reap even more benefits.

Next: Where Did The Mets Finish In This Week's Power Rankings?

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