New York Mets fans have waited long enough. The stars are aligned. It’s time to call up top prospect Wilmer Flores.
While the rest of Major League Baseball talked PEDs and A-Rods, the Mets played baseball. Captain David Wright pulled up lame Friday night legging out an infield single against the Royals. He landed on the 15-day DL, opening up hole in the infield. GM Sandy Alderson opted to recall hometown OF Mike Baxter, prompting the question: ¿Dónde está Wilmer?
Flores, 21, opened the season with the Las Vegas affiliate playing mostly second base, and earned a trip to the Triple-A All-Star game. In 2013, he’s hitting .322/.358/.532, leads the Pacific Coast League in RBI (86) and ranks second in doubles (35). He’s a plus hitter who consistently makes good contact and rarely strikes out. Flores also has some raw power which he’s showing more consistently thanks to improved plate discipline.
Still young, Flores entered the system as a shortstop, but it didn’t take long to see he lacked the range to stick there. He later moved over to third base, but now Mets brass see him exclusively as a second baseman, although he’s also started a few games at first. Flores lacks the foot speed to ever be a Gold Glove second baseman, but his bat and good hands should keep his value up.
The Mets certainly have other options if they feel Flores needs more refinement. Josh Satin’s Eyebrows started at 3B over the weekend going 2-for-9 with four strikeouts. Daniel Murphy, who came up as a third baseman, could also shift over and Eric Young Jr. could move in from left field to play second. Justin Turner’s versatility can also help, but he and Satin are better suited coming off the bench. And the outfield defense has been a strength, Marlon Byrd’s Sunday misadventures notwithstanding, so Terry Collins would be wise not to tinker.
Flores deserves his shot. Six years and nearly 700 minor leagues games is pretty much the baseball definition of “paid dues.” He, like Juan Lagares, has a chance to to be a fixture on the next playoff Mets team, and needs a shot to show whether or not he can ball at this level. The Mets currently have 13 pitchers on their roster, but Bobby Parnell seems likely to land on the DL. Instead of hiding him in the desert and jamming square bench player pegs into round starting job holes, the front office should give Flores a chance to play second base in the Majors.
Maybe he’s the 2B of the future. Maybe his soft hands and strong arm are the 2014 replacement for Ike Davis. Who knows, he might just hit a bunch and turn into a valuable trade chip for the winter. Either way, whatever his future is, it looks like we’ll finally see it soon.